June 24 will see the end of the ban on women driving in the kingdom.

Women will legally be able to drive in Saudi Arabia in less than three weeks, and some of them already have their licences.

Ten women were issued local driving licences in Riyadh on Monday, The National reports, in exchange for the foreign licences they already held.

Two thousand more were expected to join them over the next week, according to a statement from the Ministry of Information.

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Driving represents independence and having a choice, says newly licenced Reema Jawdat in the statement.

 

“I have 12 years of driving experience in Lebanon, Switzerland, and the United States. It’s a dream come true that I am about to drive in the kingdom. The moment I got the news about driving was unbelievable for me,” Jawdat says.

University assistant professor Tahani Aldosemani adds that driving isn’t just about getting from A to B.

“Driving for women is not just about driving a car; it enhances strength of character, self-confidence, and decision-making skills. It also instills a sense of responsibility for yourself, your vehicle, the road, and the people around you, not to mention the economic and social dimensions of driving,” she says in the ministry statement.

Video was also circulating on Twitter of the historic moment:

The driving licence reform comes as part of the kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030, a post-oil economy plan under which the government aims to increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent by 2020.

The initiative, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.

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Under the plans, women will be able to attend sports events in stadiums in three cities from this year, and female students in the kingdom are now allowed to carry their phones while on campus.

Additionally, more Saudi females have been appointed to top jobsa royal directive allowed women to use certain government services without a male guardian’s consent, and recent approval was issued for the go-ahead of women’s gyms.

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Images: Saudi Ministry of Information