Saudi Arabia Gives Women the Wheel: Why Now, and What Now?

Photo: Mattia Panciroli (CC) On Tuesday, Sept. 26, Saudi Arabia announced via televised royal decree that it will finally allow women to drive, marking a watershed moment in the fight for women’s rights. The verdict gives Saudi Arabian women both the literal and metaphorical wheel: as they are handed the keys, they will reach an unprecedented degree of independence and agency. Since activist Manal al-Sharif posted a video of herself driving on YouTube in 2011, women’s rights movements in Saudi Arabia have accelerated at a considerable rate. The decision to lift the ban was immediately heralded by the international...

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