Saudi Arabia just issued the first driver’s licenses to women in The Kingdom’s history.
According to Fast Company, the 10 women approved to undertake the requisite driving test and eye exams already had licenses in other countries—such as Canada, the U.K., and the United States. This historic moment comes a few weeks before the country grants all women the right to drive on June 24, and in the wake of effusive protests against the male-centric government and society that has stripped women of various human rights.
While King Salman’s government is surely being lauded for taking this courageous step of allowing women to drive cars, there are currently five men and four women in prison for campaigning for it.
Saudi Arabia seems to be attempting a shift in public perception to a somewhat more respectable entity in the Middle East, by allowing movie theaters to screen films for the first time in 35 years, for example, granting women the right to vote, and now finally letting them actually operate vehicles.
Unfortunately, the staunch fundamentalism embedded in government and social structures is still resulting in censorship, extreme prison terms for tweeting the wrong thing, flogging, and oftentimes, beheadings. While women might still be prohibited from wrestling or attending Nelly concerts, at least they can now legally drop their husbands off.