A ban that has been in place for many decades in Saudi Arabia and has prevented women from being able to drive motor vehicles finally came to an end on Sunday, June 24th.
The end of the ban was announced last year by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of his drive to modernise many key facets of Saudi society. Women are now also entitled to attend cinemas and mixed gender concerts.
Surveys have estimated that the number of drivers in the kingdom could spike by several million as a result of the lifting of the ban, providing a potentially major boost to the car retail sector.
Saudi Arabia has been processing applications for new licences from many women in recent weeks and some female drivers to Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih ok to the streets at midnight as the ban lapsed.
Speaking on the side-lines of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries meeting in Vienna this past weekend, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources Khalid Al Falih said he welcomed the move and saw benefits for the petroleum sector: “Women will be more empowered and more mobile and I think they will participate more in the job market over time, so I think it’s going to contribute to employment of females in Saudi Arabia. A secondary effect will probably be higher gasoline demand.”