Saudi Arabia gives women the right to drive in new order

Yemenis walk past a building housing branches of the Finance Ministry and Central Bank that was heavily damaged in an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition in the northern province of Saada

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women, despite ambitious government reforms aimed at boosting female employment.

The secretary-general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres described it as "an important step in the right direction".

The kingdom's dress code requires women to wear an abaya (cloak) and veil, though the latter is selectively enforced.

The headline on the state-linked Arabic newspaper Okaz noted that "In the era of King Salman, women can drive".

But for now, Saudi women are finally in the driving seat.

For example, the police will have to be trained to interact with women in a way that they rarely do in Saudi Arabia, a society where men and women who are not related have little contact.

In a historic night after King Salman Bin Abdelaziz issued a decree to grant women driving licenses the economic effect on the Kingdom is forecasted to be positive.

Speaking on his LBC show, Maajid said: "There are problems with men and access rights in this country, there are problems in the divorce law, there are problems with the case of the student in Oxford who stabbed her boyfriend".

"I think our leadership understands that our society is ready".

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Saudi Arabia on Tuesday announced that from June 2018, women in the kingdom will have the right to drive.

Under these laws, women can not travel overseas, work or undergo some medical procedures without the consent of their male "guardian", often a father, a husband or even a son.

NORTHAM: Getting a license doesn't mean equal rights for all.

Abdullah also announced that women could for the first time vote and run in municipal elections.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said of Saudi Arabia's decision to end the ban, "We're certainly happy to hear that".

There's a lot of work that still needs to be done in order to achieve gender equality in Saudi Arabia. The move may signal that the ultraconservative kingdom wants to improve its image.

One of Saudi Arabia's most vocal women's rights activists says the decision to allow women to drive is a "great first step". Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world to ban women from driving.

Salman says women won't need permission legally from a male guardian to get a driver's license and won't need a guardian in the vehicle with them to drive.

He also ordered the formation of a high-level committee from several ministries to look into the necessary procedures to issue these licences.