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Saudi Arabia Finally Lifts Its Ban on Female Drivers. Here’s Hoping It Sticks.

The fight for women’s rights has gained another victory in the world today, as the women of Saudi Arabia have just learned that the ban against female drivers in the country has been lifted.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has, by royal decree, lifted the ban preventing women from driving, and the country will begin issuing driver’s licenses to female drivers as of June of next year. As reported by Al Arabiya, Latifa Shaalan, a female member of Saudi Arabia’s Shoura Council said, “This is a great victory for many Saudi women. This was the one file and issue which Saudi women have fought not just years, but decades for. Every time we asked, we were told the time was not right. When we asked those previous from this men and women who said we didn’t need to drive.”

In addition to allowing women to be issued driver’s licenses, the decree also orders “the establishment of a high-level committee involving the ministries of internal affairs, finance, labor and social development. They will be tasked with studying the arrangements to enforce the new law.”

I was glad to hear this part. It’s one (very important) thing to make something legal. It’s quite another thing to change the social and cultural mores that would allow for the new law to be applied in practice. It’s good that the effort is being made to not only make this legal, but ensure enforcement until it becomes a part of the culture.

Here’s to a victory hard-won by countless Saudi feminist activists! We stand behind you in solidarity and joy.

(via NPR, image: Shutterstock)

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former TMS assistant editor from 2015-18. Now, she's back as a contributing writer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.