The announcement on Tuesday follows decades of resistance from female activists, many of whom were jailed for flouting the ban. The decision of Saudi Arabia is a great and well-calculated step toward modernity.
The decree promises to change the lifestyle of millions. Saudi officials and clerics have provided numerous explanations for the ban over the years. Saudi economic news service Maaal estimated the drivers now collectively earn about $8.8 billion annually.
The landmark victory is being celebrated by Saudi women and activists all over. Dramatic gestures and media soundbites have never been the way Saudi Arabia operates. He told the media in Washington that it was the right time for Saudi Arabia to do the right thing, adding that the government in Saudi Arabia views women driving as a social issue, not a religious or cultural issue. In a world driven by liberal values, criticizing Saudi Arabia's cautious and thoughtful approach to change was an easy win for those who fear the Kingdom's power and influence.
The share prices of companies selling auto insurance rose on Wednesday, while vehicle servicing company Saudi Automotive gained 1.6 percent and vehicle rental and leasing company United International Transportation, which operates under the name Budget Saudi Arabia, jumped 4.0 percent.
"I had no idea it was going to take like 27 years, but anyway, we need to celebrate", Alajroush said. A new policy implemented July 1 raising fees to renew residency permits that will reach $106 per month by 2020 already has many expats reconsidering living in the Kingdom.
Most of the worldwide media and official reactions welcomed the move.
The guardianship system basically means that Saudi women are totally powerless over their own lives and destinies unless their male guardian allows them that power.
This is likely to have one major economic impact.
The most recent statistics suggest there are almost 800,000 men - mostly South Asian - working as drivers for Saudi women.
"This law will assist in the mobility of hundreds of thousands of women". "It's a restructuring of how we think, how we operate, how we move".
The royal decree promises to change lifestyles for numerous more than 10 million adult women, including foreigners, who live in Saudi Arabia and may help restore auto sales growth in a market dented by the economic fallout from weak oil prices.
One of the biggest benefits of the announcement may be to strengthen the confidence of foreign and local investors that Prince Mohammed is willing and able to push through far-reaching reforms of the economy.
His latest reform is expected to socially - and financially - liberate women, who are heavily reliant on foreign drivers or male relatives. "Since that day, Saudi women have been asking for the right to drive, and finally it arrived", she said by phone.