Saudi king issues decree allowing women to drive – state media

RIYADH/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Saudi King Salman on Tuesday ordered that women be allowed to drive cars, ending a conservative tradition seen by rights activists as an emblem of the Islamic kingdom’s repression of women.

The kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, has been widely criticized for being the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite gradual improvement on some women’s issues in recent years and ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce.

Despite trying to cultivate a more modern image in recent years, the driving ban had been a longstanding stain on Saudi Arabia’s international image.

The royal decree ordered the formation of a ministerial body to give advice within 30 days and then implement the order by June 24, 2018, according to state news agency SPA.

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