“Any comprehensive society needs… to protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of gender.”

Recent months have seen extensive social change in Saudi Arabia, and they’re not finished yet.

The Kingdom’s Shura council, which advises King Salman, has just approved legislation which would outlaw harassment. Those convicted would face fines up to Dhs293,000.

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Women in Saudi Arabia will be able to drive legally from June 24, and the matching timing of this new law is no accident, Arab News reports.

“I believe this law to be of extreme importance… Driving, although probably the main reason for it, is not the only one,” Shura council member Hoda Al-Helaissi told the site.

“Any comprehensive society needs a law such as this one to protect the rights of all citizens, regardless of gender.”

The legislation, which will likely be updated as it comes into force, protects both men and women, Arab News reports.

saudi woman motorbike

“[The law] aims to combat the crime of harassment, prevent its occurrence, punish the perpetrators and protect the victims, in order to preserve the privacy, dignity and personal freedom of individuals guaranteed by the provisions of Islamic law and regulations,” Al-Helaissi said.

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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.

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 jobs, a 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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