Saudi women celebrate end of ban: Habibti, you can drive my car

Jun 25, 2018, 18:50 IST | Agencies

The much-trumpeted move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to modernise the conservative state but it has been dented by the jailing of female activists who long opposed the driving ban

Saudi women celebrate end of ban: Habibti, you can drive my car
Sabika Habib drives through the streets of Khobar City. Pic/AFP

Saudi women celebrated taking the wheel for the first time in decades yesterday as the kingdom overturned the world's only ban on female motorists.

The much-trumpeted move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to modernise the conservative state — but it has been dented by the jailing of female activists who long opposed the driving ban. Women in Riyadh and other cities began zipping around streets bathed in amber light soon after the ban was lifted at midnight, with some blasting music from behind the wheel.

The lifting of the ban, long a glaring symbol of repression, is expected to be transformative for many women, freeing them from dependence on private chauffeurs or male relatives.

Euphoria was mixed with disbelief as women across the kingdom flooded social media with videos of their maiden car rides, with a heavy presence of policemen, some of whom distributed flowers to the first-time drivers.

Saudi woman drives F1 car to mark end
Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of her national motorsport federation, took the wheel of the same car in which Kimi Raikkonen won the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. She is responsible for creation of strategies to promote motorsport for women in Saudi Arabia.

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Victory for Women! Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving

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