In a historic move, Saudi Arabia lifted its widely criticized ban on female drivers.
Previously, women in Saudi Arabia had to depend on male relatives and chauffeurs to travel anywhere via car, even to run simple errands. The lifting of the ban is just one of many changes planned by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who assumed power one year ago this month. The 32-year-old prince is regarded as a risk-taker, and has begun a sweeping campaign of liberalization in the kingdom, which has been ruled by the House of Saud since 1932.
Saudia Arabia’s transformation, including allowing women greater freedoms and equality, may be essential to its economy. Experts say that as the nation shifts away from an economy predominantly reliant on oil, more households will need dual incomes.
According to sources, more than 3 million women could receive licenses and drive by 2020. There are already long wait lists for women’s driving schools that have recently opened in the country.