Saudi officers hand out roses to women drivers in historic moment

Final hours of Saudi Arabia ban on female drivers

Women in Saudi Arabia are now legally allowed to drive from today, June 24, 2018, as Saudi Arabia lifts its ban on women driving, which had been in place since 1957.

In fact, it was a historic day of celebration as police gave female drivers flowers, hotels offered rooms and meals to the first women to arrive driving their cars, cafes served them free coffee, while the Ministry of Transport greeted them with a billboard that read "Dear sister, we wish you safety always".

Ending the ban is one of the most socially-consequential reforms implemented by Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. As for the male drivers on the road, "they were really supportive and cheering and smiling", she said. It called for Saudi Arabia's western allies to pressure the kingdom to release all the detained rights activists unconditionally before they are sent for trial.

The kingdom earlier this month began issuing its first driving licences to women in decades, with some swapping their foreign permits for Saudi ones after undergoing a practical test.

Three of those still detained- Aziza al-Yousef, Loujain al-Hathloul and Eman al-Nafjan- are seen as icons of the women's rights movement in Saudi Arabia.

Another video showed a women driving slowly down a road.

Authorities were working to prevent beoutQ's activities in Saudi Arabia, though the broadcasts remain widely available.

The change should save families billions of dollars on chauffeurs while encouraging more women into the workforce and increasing productivity, if only modestly at first.

In 1990, during the first driving campaign by activists, women who drove in Riyadh lost their jobs and were barred from traveling overseas, even as women in other conservative Muslim countries drove freely.

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In 1990, during the first driving campaign by activists, women who got behind the wheels of their cars in the capital, Riyadh, lost their jobs, faced severe stigmatization and were barred from travel overseas for a year. "There will be women who fire the chauffeur and drive in the vehicle they already own".

The Saudi Driving School is one of a few catered to women across the country, with plans of expansion across all major cities.

The ban's reversal, however, has coincided with a recent crackdown on women's rights activists in the country.

Prince Mohammed, appointed heir to the most powerful throne in the Middle East a year ago this month, has also lifted a ban on cinemas and mixed-gender concerts, following his public vow to return the kingdom to moderate Islam.

"It was flawless. Everything was smooth, I felt I belong in the seat", she said afterward.

Most will have to train at new state-run schools, with 3 million women expected to be on the roads by 2020.

"They're very supportive. You can see from the streets everyone is so happy".

Activists and diplomats have speculated that the arrest of more than a dozen women's rights advocates over the past month were aimed at appeasing conservative elements or at sending a message to activists not to push demands too far.

She said: "I don't think there was an immediate connection between the two".

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