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Saudi Women Can Drive in the Open. A Little

By Automotive Staff | August 26, 2008
Our major ally and oil supplier in the Middle East apparently has a prohibitive ban on women drivers. The ban is neither legal, nor religious, but rather a social phenomenon spurred by fatwas (or senior Islamic clerics) that is enforced by police. Live-in drivers are common, and women who cannot afford them must rely on male relatives. Opposition asserts that the lurid details of a woman swathed from head to toe will spark hot tensions on the road and create unnecessary interaction with male strangers. Women have repeatedly broken this social taboo out of necessity, and some of them have even been hailed as heroes, signifying a slightly more liberated view on the subject than eighteen years ago. The heavy backlash women faced when trying to organize mass driving protests in 1990 stunted all inertia for reform until recently. King Abdullah, who is regarded as a reformist, has recognized the issue as a social one rather than a religious, therein giving his indirect support for loosening the unofficial ban. Our take? Talk about setting women in their place. via Happy News
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