“Saudi Arabia will never be the same again. The rain begins with a single drop.”
Overnight, it was announced that the ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia would be lifted, effective June 2018. As of that date, the kingdom will no longer be the only country in the world to keep women off the roads.
“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licences for men and women alike,” said the Saudi Press Agency.
Both locally and worldwide, the announcement was huge news. Activist Manal Al Sharif, who was jailed in 2011 for her protests on the ban, released a statement via her website.
“Women’s rights activists will still continue to observe how this law is implemented and monitored and will continue campaigning to abolish the male guardianship imposed on them,” she said. “We ask for nothing short of full equality for women.”
“We pay respect to the women and men who have fought in this struggle.”
On Twitter earlier, she had said she was overcome with emotion and apologised for not taking calls.
You want a statement here is one: “Saudi Arabia will never be the same again. The rain begins with a single drop” #Women2Drive❤️
— منال مسعود الشريف (@manal_alsharif) September 26, 2017
Madeha Al Ajroush, one of the original women to get behind the wheel in protest in 1990, was also thrilled:
The will for women to drive has finally come. We, the Saudi women has the freedom of mobility.
— madeha al ajroush (@madehaAlajrous) September 26, 2017
Here are a few more of our favourite posts about the news:
One gazillion congrats so all the women in #Saudi who can now finally drive!! Anyone coming to #Dubai we can go for a cruise and a test drive 😍 Let’s race 🏎 haha *Joke* #WomenRockingTheWheels #SaudiArabia ألف ترليون مبروك للسعودية وللبنات كلهم!!! ستقودي وستكون قيادة جميلة!! #قيادة_المرأة #يلا_نتسابق 🏎😜 #السعودية
— Marya Mufti (@MaryaMufti) September 26, 2017
There’s much work yet to be done for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, e.g. male guardianship. But today’s news is great! Let’s celebrate it.
— Laila Lalami (@LailaLalami) September 26, 2017
Exciting news for Saudi women… a long, long time coming. I covered their first driving protest back in 1990! https://t.co/Vg1T2rvbvJ
— Christiane Amanpour (@camanpour) September 26, 2017
A historical & a great moment for women in Saudi… It is certainly a new era 🎉🇸🇦
— نورة الكعبي (@NouraAlKaabi) September 26, 2017