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Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift a controversial ban last September created news across the world because of the decision being a progressive step coming from a conservative society.

Driving ban on females has been lifted

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been the driving force for change and had ordered the ban to be lifted on June 24th, granting women the permission to attain driving licenses. Since then, driving centres opened its doors to women and so far this month, ten women have passed the mandatory tests. Prince Mohammed bin Salman described this move as the “right decision at the right time.”

Photograph credit: Twitter/ghulamabbashah

Petitions on the driving ban have been going on since a decade

Female Saudi nationals have long protested for allowing women to drive. It started in 2007 when Saudi activist Wajeha al Huwaider, founder of the Association for the Protection and Defense of Women’s Rights in Saudi Arabia, submitted a petition to former King of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud allowing women to drive, which had 1,100 signatures.

#Women2Drive campaign had created a revolution

Since the protests in the late 2000s, there has been a notable movement, the #Women2Drive campaign, where several female Saudi public figures had spread the issue on the internet, which attracted global media attention. The continuous protests called for change last September Mohammed bin Salman announced the ban to be lifted.

Photograph credit: AlYunaniya

Fines for women driving were up to Dhs 877

Prior to lifting the ban, fines for women driving in Saudi Arabia ranged between SR 499( dhs 488) to SR 896(Dhs 871). The rule was part of ‘Wahhabism’, a strict law followed by Saudi Arabia, which believes that “women didn’t need to drive because they don’t travel without a man who can drive for her,” according to BBC. The only solution before was to hire a driver.

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