Saudi Arabia's king issued a decree on Tuesday allowing women to drive, which would end a longstanding ban on female motorists in the ultra-conservative country. We have dynamic leadership.
The scholars see no reason not to allow women to drive as long as there are legal and regulatory guarantees to avoid the pretexts (that those against women driving had in mind), even if they are unlikely to happen. Women are also still required to be accompanied by a male chaperone at all times when outside the house, which includes when driving, according to the New York Daily News.
Ali al-Ahmed, director of the Institute of Gulf Affairs, a group often critical of the Saudi leadership, said the decision reflects the influence of reforms pushed by the crown prince, Mohammad bin Salman.
Women in Saudi Arabia still face many restrictions under the extreme form of Islam that governs the kingdom.
Many Saudi women rely on ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem to take relish some freedom of movement.
Women, however, will not be allowed to obtain licenses immediately.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S.is "happy" with the move, calling it "a great step in the right direction for that country".
Saudi women's rights activists have been pushing for the right to drive for decades, saying it represents their larger struggle for equal rights under the law. He said the ministry would print a corrected copy of the book and had formed a committee to determine the source of the mistake.