The biggest impediment to Saudi women was never the driving ban


Sarah Bloomberg. Journalist

It looks like 27 years of protesting, along with international pressure and government recognition that it needs more Saudi women in the workforce, has finally paid off.

In a royal decree, Saudi King Salman announced on September 26 that Saudi women, who have long been the only women in the world banned from driving, will have that right as of June 2018. The move brings Saudi Arabia a step closer to joining the 21st century, but Saudi women remain shackled by extreme gender segregation and a guardianship system that is a form of gender apartheid.

The ban on driving, along with the general lack of reliable and safe public transportation, has had a terrible impact on middle class and poor Saudi women who cannot afford their own personal drivers. It’s been a major factor keeping women at less than 20 percent of the labor force. The recent introduction of ride-sharing…

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