Saudia Arabian women will now be permitted to obtain drivers licenses. King Salman, the country’s leader, announced Tuesday that the long-established law would be lifted as early as June 2018. The royal decree also claimed that Saudi Arabian women would not need to seek their husbands’ permission to obtain a license.
Saudi Arabia was the only country worldwide where women could be jailed for driving. The strict law resulted in several protests, which also led some women to defy the law. Some have defended the regulation by claiming that it would be inappropriate for women to drive, the New York Times reported Tuesday.
“We refer to the negative consequences of not allowing women to drive vehicles and the positive aspects of allowing it to do so, taking into consideration the application of the necessary legal controls and adherence to them,” the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said Tuesday.
The decision comes on the heels of a newly announced Saturday announcement that women would be allowed into sports stadiums for the first time ever. Saudia Arabia, however, is still a highly conservative country. The driving change won’t alleviate the nation’s women from other forms of repression.
Wearing ‘Immodest’ Clothes Or Makeup Isn’t Allowed
Saudi women are restricted from wearing immodest clothing and makeup. Abayas — a long cloak — and a headscarf are often wardrobe staples. Foreigners, however, don’t have to wear the headscarf in public.
There is still room for personal expression or fashion with abayas. Abayas are available in different colors, styles, patterns and cuts, according to The Economist.
Public Swimming Is Prohibited
Public swimming pools are only made accessible to Saudi Arabian men. Women are only permitted to use pools in private homes or at women-only gyms.
“As a woman, I wasn’t even allowed to look at them (“there are men in swimsuits there,” a hotel staffer told me with horror) — let alone use them,” Arlene Getz, an editor for Reuters, wrote of her visit in April 2014. “There was a facility for women, but it was the gym that couldn’t say its name. Rather, we had to sidle up to the front desk, ask for the ‘make-up room.'”
Women Are Often Segregated From Men
Interactions with men are limited in several environments. Several public buildings like universities and offices have separate entrances for men and women, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The segregation regulations also extend to restaurants, which prohibit women…