United Nations head welcomes Saudi move letting women drive

The decree said that women would be allowed to drive "in accordance with the Islamic laws". Still, lifting the driving ban on women could help the country's global reputation. "This is a positive step toward promoting the rights and opportunities of women in Saudi Arabia", Sanders said. Heather Nauert, State Department spokeswoman, says the US applauds the move. "But I believe that they're imprisoned in their old ways and their old mindset or they just fear freedom", she says, adding that she has received death threats because of her campaign.

Dr Madawi al-Rasheed, a Saudi academic, congratulated the women activists in a tweet and wished for "political and civil rights and an elected government" to follow.

"We will continue to support Saudi Arabia in its efforts to strengthen Saudi society and the economy through reforms like this", the White House said.

And Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Khaled bin Salman, appeared jubilant. "Economically, it is going to decrease the burden on families; socially it will be much better for women to have control over their lives, not always waiting for a man who is no relation to her; or being in a vehicle alone with a stranger whose background she is not aware of". "It's a great step in the right direction for that country", the State Department Spokesperson, Heather Nauert, told reporters at her news. Women will be allowed to obtain licenses without the permission of a male relative.

Abdullah also announced that women could for the first time vote and run in municipal elections.

President Donald Trump has commended Saudi Arabia's decision to allow women to drive. In 2013, a group of 10 women made a decision to challenge the ban and drive.

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Chief among those is Saudi Arabia's guardianship system, which requires a woman to get permission from a male family member for some of the most important and even mundane decisions of her life.

Numerous kingdom's professionals and young people will welcome the change, viewing it as a step to making life in the country a bit more like life elsewhere. Never mind driving a auto, which is coming, no doubt...

There's a lot of work that still needs to be done in order to achieve gender equality in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam's holiest sites, is a Muslim monarchy ruled according to Shariah law.

Women drivers have previously been arrested and cars have been confiscated, activists said.

Women's rights activists since the 1990s have been pushing for the right to drive, saying it represents their larger struggle for equal rights under the law.

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