U.S. welcomes Saudi move to allow women to drive

U.S. welcomes Saudi move to allow women to drive

U.S. welcomes Saudi move to allow women to drive

A top education official in Saudi Arabia was sacked this week after a doctored image of King Faisal with Star Wars icon Yoda made its way into a Saudi textbook.

Saudi Arabia has been widely criticised for being the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce. Saudi women remain largely under the whim of male relatives due to guardianship laws.

While the enforcement of these laws has loosened in recent years, there is little to stop Saudi men from greatly limiting the movements of their wives or daughters.

He told the New York Times that he paired King Faisal and Yoda as they were both intelligent and because Yoda's green skin and lightsaber match the green of the Saudi flag. Some Saudi women have been fined and imprisoned for daring to get behind the wheel.

The change doesn't take effect until next June, however, and the Times notes that, "The decree said a high-level ministerial committee was being formed to study the issues that needed to be addressed for the change to take place".

In a major step towards gender equality for the kingdom that is often criticized for its infringement of women's rights, King Salman issued a royal decree this Thursday allowing women to acquire their driver licence. 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.

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