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Leading Saudi women's activist vows to return and drive

Leading Saudi women's activist vows to return and drive

But to do so, it must lift the mental limits that now hinder such innovation. On Tuesday, King Salman announced that as of June, 2018, the women of his country will be able to get driver's licences, ending a 60-year ban and many decades of protest.

- Gabriella Paiella (@GMPaiella) September 26, 2017I agree it's a encouraging sign, but banning women from driving ranks about 8,349th on Saudi Arabia's list of human rights violations.

The rule change could spell bad news for some of the 1.3 million men employed as chauffeurs in the kingdom, including a large share of its migrant workforce, while boosting upscale auto sales as households upgrade for their new drivers. More than 70 percent of the population is under 30, with almost a third of those unemployed.

The Somali president, accompanied by government officials, also held meetings with the Saudi crown prince Mohamed Bin Salman in Jeddah and they discussed issues including economic partnership among others. Over the past two years, the kingdom has undergone a major political transition, with the ouster of the well-established Crown Prince, who had successfully quashed most of Al Qaeda in the kingdom. BMW, whose X5 SUV is the group's Middle East top-seller, also saluted the move.

It is time for the movement to evaluate the choices it has made in its campaigning, and for a structural dismantling of the oppression faced by all women in Saudi Arabia. Yet in equality for women, it ranks near the bottom.

The decision was met with jubilation from Saudi women and from around the world.

Women make up only about 20 percent of Saudi workers, one of the lowest proportions in the world.

All of this is becoming unaffordable, and this past summer, the government unveiled Vision 2030, a plan to wean the kingdom off oil. It was just five years ago this November that authorities began sending men text messages whenever the women they oversaw left the country. Yet despite this high level of education, more than a third of women remain unemployed.

Saudi Arabia's historic lifting of a ban on women driving will be a litmus test for its king-in-waiting, who has sought to sideline the kingdom's arch-conservatives as he accelerates reforms, analysts say.

Sept 23: Women were allowed to enter the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh for the first time when Saudi Arabia celebrated the 87 anniversary of its foundation with concerts, including a pageant operetta. The country's global competitiveness may only rise as it raises the innovative capacity of its people, especially its women.


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