Women’s license to drive: Embracing the future

Mashari Althaydi
Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

The matter which many have been inquiring about for long has been addressed as King Salman granted Saudi women their right to drive cars.

This issue has had an impact on Saudi Arabia’s reputation for around three decades ever since it surfaced during the war to liberate Kuwait when women drove cars in Riyadh in what looked like a protest in November 1990.

The Islamist movements went mad at the time and mobilized the Saudi society speaking out against what “violated their habits!” They kept making these statements for a long time and really went far with their criticism.

The case has been on hold ever since without being resolved and the Shoura council only got involved recently.


The entire world has celebrated this major decision as they know it is a decision that embraces the future and truly empowers Saudi women

Mashari Althaydi

The beginning

It was started by Dr Mohammed al-Zulfa a historian who is an enthusiast for women’s causes. Zulfa is the member of the Shoura Council who in 2008 brought up the issue of women driving only to be confronted with a Sahwist attack that hurled insults at him and suspected his motives.

The issue was brought up again when women became members of the council during King Abdullah’s era. Female members of the council Latifa al-Shaalan, Haya Al-Minai and Mona al-Mushayet brought up the issue up in the Council but it was thwarted from within. During their second term, Latifa remained adamant as she did not give up and resumed her journey.

All this is now from the past following the historic decision made by the prime minister and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman who has now inaugurated a new Saudi era.

Except the enemies

The issue is more than the legal and technical part and this is why the entire world – except the enemies – celebrated this major Saudi decision. It is because they know it is a decision that embraces the future and truly empowers Saudi women.

How many times has the western media attacked Saudi Arabia due to this strange issue? How many times has an envoy or minister or even ordinary citizen failed to find an excuse to respond to those who try to embarrass them when they bring up the issue of women driving?

Even Khomeini supporters and the Brotherhood mouthpieces used this issue to harm Saudi Arabia’s and the Saudis’ reputation. Can you imagine that!

The story is now over. Let a bigger and more important story that is related to drafting laws against molesters and violators – whom will find many people to justify their acts for them – begin in order to deter them and protect decisions from enemies.

This article is also available in Arabic.
Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.
Top Content Trending