The ban in Saudi Arabia, which is governed by Shariah law, has always been a part of conservative rules that limit how women in the country lived their daily lives. Last month, Saudi police arrested an Arab woman after video circulated showing her driving a auto in the Eastern Province.
King Salman had issued a decree allowing women to be given driving licences, the Saudi Press Agency said.
U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told reporters that the department was pleased with the announcement and that lifting the ban is a good sign.More news: Are the Star Trek: Discovery premiere ratings stellar for CBS?
When Manal al-Sharif, a Saudi Arabian native and activist, videotaped herself driving a vehicle in 2011, the decision landed her in jail for nine days. The scholars see no reason not to allow women to drive as long as there are legal and regulatory guarantees to avoid the pretexts (that those against women driving had in mind), even if they are unlikely to happen.
It was unclear how the permission to drive would relate to other remaining restrictions, including laws requiring women to be accompanied by a male "guardian" when leaving their homes.
Some leading members of the country's powerful and austere Sunni Muslim clergy have argued against women being allowed to drive, which they say could lead to them mingling with unrelated men, thereby breaching strict gender segregation rules.More news: I students react to BYU decision to sell caffeinated sodas
Many Saudi women rely on ride-sharing apps like Uber and Careem to take relish some freedom of movement. The king and his son have also opened the country to more entertainment and fun.
His older brother, 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed, has become the face of reform in the kingdom in the past few years.
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