Saudi Arabia, Sept 27: There is good news for Saudi women. They will soon be seen driving cars on the roads of their country, and this is not just daydreaming.
The orthodox Islamic state of Saudi Arabia has decided to allow women to drive cars, Reuters said quoting reports of the state owned media.
This step, viewed as revolutionary, is expected to end the conservative nature of this Islamic kingdom. Saudi Arabia is the only nation in the world where women are not allowed to drive four-wheelers.
The Saudi King has signed the royal decree to form a ministerial committee to give advice within a period of 30 days to pave the way for implementation of this order by June next year, state news agency SPA said.
It stipulated that the move must “apply and adhere to the necessary Sharia standards", without providing details, and said a majority of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars had approved its permissibility.
Saudi Arabia has been widely criticised for being the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce.
Women in the kingdom are also bound by law to wear long robes and a headscarf and require the consent of a male guardian for most legal actions.
The kingdom has been opening more areas for women through the government's modernizing reforms, which have sparked tensions with influential clerics upon whose support the ruling family relies.