King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

King Salman. (SPA file photo)
Updated 27 September 2017
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King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it would allow women to drive in the Kingdom, in the latest move in a string of social and economic reforms underway in the country.

King Salman issued the decree, according to a royal court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” the SPA said.

The decree orders the formation of a ministerial body to give advice on the practicalities of the edict within 30 days and to ensure the full implementation of the order by June 2018.

The move was announced on television and also by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Saudi Arabia allows women to drive,” the ministry confirmed on Twitter.

The decree referred to the "negative effects of not allowing women to drive vehicles, and the positive effects envisaged from allowing them to do so" within the context of Islamic laws.

The prohibition is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it. 

For years, the topic has been the center of extensive debate in government, media and social circles.


'Huge step'

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman, described the decision of allowing women to drive as a “huge step.”  

“It's not just a social change, it's part of economic reform,” he said. “Our leadership believes this is the right time to do this change because in Saudi Arabia, we have a young, dynamic open society.” 

The ambassador said women will not need to get permission from legal guardians to get a license.

Furthermore, if a woman has a driver’s license in another Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, she's allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, he said.


Program launched to empower young Saudis

Saudi men attend a technical education evening class at an electrical workshop as part of a pioneering programme for extending skills in Riyadh, in this file photo taken on May 2, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 19 July 2018
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Program launched to empower young Saudis

  • Saudi nationals will be trained by the company to work at one of its specialized facilities and deliver Alfanar products to its customers
  • The pioneering program goes hand-in-hand with the ministerial decision to nationalize the sales in 12 economic sectors

RIYADH: A pioneering program to train Saudis to work in the electrical sector so that they can eventually replace expat workers has been launched by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.
The ministry launched the program in cooperation with Alfanar group in Riyadh as part of its effort to empower young Saudis by providing them with more private sector job openings.
According to the agreement, Saudi nationals will be trained by the company to work at one of its specialized facilities and deliver Alfanar products to its customers.
As well as offering job opportunities, the program has been designed to help the company overcome the lack of qualified candidates through designing specialized training programs. The pioneering program goes hand-in-hand with the ministerial decision to nationalize the sales in 12 economic sectors.
“The partnership between the Ministry of Labor and Alfanar is an example for other large companies and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Kingdom,” Abdul Salam Al-Tuwaijri, director for nationalization of the commercial sector, said on Monday.
Making a strong pitch on the nationalization of this sector, Al-Tuwaijri stressed the importance of this sector to help replace expatriate workers with Saudi men and women.