RIYADH: It is a monumental moment in the history of Saudi Arabia, and a video capturing the first time a driving license has been issued to a female in the Kingdom has gone viral.
The video shows the woman, who already has an international driving license, being given her Saudi license by General Directorate of Traffic (GDT) officials, as per regulations allowing her to drive in the Kingdom.
“Thousands of congratulations to the daughters of the homeland, being issued the first license in Saudi Arabia,” the tweet containing the video by @saudalzmanan read.
The GDT has now started replacing women’s Kingdom-approved foreign driving licenses with Saudi ones.
After confirming the validity of foreign licenses submitted via an online portal, and assessing applicants’ ability to drive by conducting a practical test, the first group of women received their Saudi licenses on Monday.
On May 8 it was announced by the General Department of Traffic Director General Mohammed Al-Bassami that Saudi women would be allowed to start driving in the kingdom from June 24.
“All the requirements for women in the kingdom to start driving have been established,” Al-Bassami said in a statement.
Procedures to replace and obtain licenses for everyone are expected to be announced soon.
In September 2017, a royal decree announced the end of a decades-long ban on women driving — the only one of its kind in the world.
Five Saudi universities have launched driving schools for women: Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, Tabuk University, Taif University and Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.
The Saudi Driving School, at Princess Nourah University, the first for women in the capital, was launched in partnership with the Emirates Driving Institute in Dubai, an established driving school in the region.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 32, is seen as the force behind the lifting of the ban, part of a series of reforms being pushed by the Crown Prince.
His Vision 2030 reform plan for a post-oil era seeks to elevate women to nearly one-third of the workforce, up from about 22 percent now.