After years and years of activism, it was great to know that women in Saudi Arabia will finally be able to drive. We living in India take this as a small thing but for Saudi women, who are probably one of the most repressed, this is a huge battle won.
The 2016 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum ranked the kingdom 141 out of 144 countries on gender parity. Trailing behind Saudi Arabia were Syria, Pakistan and Yemen.
They are allowed to drive now, conditions to be announced in 30 days but there are so many other things, far more bigger and life changing which they cannot do in Saudi, like marry, divorce, travel, open a bank account, get a job or have elective surgery without permission from their male guardians. Women cannot appear in public without the full-length black abaya. If a woman wants to start her own business, she will need two men who can testify to her character before she can be granted a loan or a license. They most definitely cannot eat at restaurants that don't have a separate designated family section.
Yes, the Saudi women have a long way to go before they can gain some place in the patriarchal society but this allowance to drive is a small step towards bigger freedoms