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Saudi women are on the roads and driving as ban is lifted

25 June 2018

The first public demonstration came on November 6, 1990, when 47 women drove around central Riyadh for almost an hour until they were detained by the religious police. It's been well received by music lovers, especially Saudi women.

'Saudi Arabia has just entered the 21st century, ' he told his granddaughters in the back seat.

A report by the Gulf Research Centre said that lifting the driving ban on women "may help them overcome some of the difficulties they face in accessing job opportunities".

Loujain al-Hathloul is one of six women jailed since mid-May for their activism - a month before the Saudi Government promised to lift the ban on women driving.

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She hopes that there will soon be female racecar drivers in her country.

But the most visible sign of change is coming on Sunday, when women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive, ending a ban that had stained the kingdom's reputation globally, kept women subjugated in the backseat and hindered the full potential of the country's economic growth.

Women celebrate after they drove their cars in Al Khobar. "I'm just too proud to be doing this right now", said 23-year-old Majdooleen al-Ateeq as she cruised across Riyadh for the first time in her black Lexus. There were no reported casualties or damage immediately, but there was shrapnel on a street in the diplomatic quarter where most embassies are located and many foreigners live, a Reuters witness said.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia issued its first driver's licenses to 10 women who already had licenses from other countries.

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EBay also said in a statement Thursday that Congress needs to "provide clear tax rules, with a strong small business exemption". In 2015, 72.5 percent of Tennessee's total tax revenues came from sales tax. "I don't have to drive", said Thornsberry.

Allowing women on the road is part of a transformation in the way women are regarded that could extend beyond Saudi Arabia's borders, according to Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Adel al-Jubeir.

Saudi Arabia follows a strict form of Wahhabi Islam that bans the mixing of sexes at public events and places numerous curbs on women, including needing the permission of a male guardian to marry, work or travel. "Then I ask my husband about the specs so he takes a look at it to see what it's like and if it's durable", she said.

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.

"It feels attractive. It was a dream for us so when it happens in reality, I am between belief and disbelief- between a feeling of joy and astonishment", said Mabkhoutah al-Mari as she pulled up to order a drive-thru coffee on her drive to work. There's a waiting list of several months for the classes on offer in major cities. "I am glad to see such progress, empowering women to be more involved in this development". The classes also cost several hundred dollars, far more than what men now pay.

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Myself as a man, or any man, when he sees a woman, he'll give her the priority and give her the right of way to drive, and protect her. "Some naughty guys, you know", she said, giggling shyly.

Saudi women are on the roads and driving as ban is lifted