Muscat: Speaking at the United Nations (U.N.), Abdallah Al Mouallimi, the permanent representative of Saudi Arabia to the U.N., said the decree by the Saudi king allowing women to drive is ‘historic’.
Read here: King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, ordered that women be allowed to drive cars. Al Mouallimi said that it was a historic day for Saudi society.
“Thank God, I can’t describe how happy we are today because of this royal decree, at last for the majority of us, and we knew it is going to be possible for us to drive since the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence had said before that the idea was already discussed and all the government was waiting for the community readiness and acceptance,” said Nada Al Otaibi, a Saudi woman.
Omani women, who have been allowed to drive since 1970, expressed their thoughts on the latest Saudi Decree that allows women to drive.
“I’ve never imagined that I will witness such a historic moment like this, no matter how reactions are between acceptance, rejection and ridicule by some of the Saudi society; I believe that the time will pass and everyone will finally accept it,” stated Sundus Said, a 22-year-old Omani media student at the Sultan Qabood University.
“In my opinion, this decision came late, mainly because of how driving has become a necessity these days. All women should be independent, and should be able to go and do whatever they want without the need of a man,” said Sara Salim, an Omani women.
She added that this decision is going to save the Saudi women lots of money since they won’t be forced to hire a personal driver and pay him every month.
The kingdom has been widely criticized for being the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite gradual improvement in some women’s issues in the recent years and ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce.
Despite trying to cultivate a more modern image in recent years, the driving ban had been a long-standing stain on Saudi Arabia’s international image.
For more than 25 years, women activists have campaigned to be allowed to drive, defiantly taking to the road, petitioning the king and posting videos of themselves behind the wheel on social media. The protests even got them arrested.