On September 26th, Saudi Arabia announced a new law allowing women to drive. Until then, it remained the only country to repress women from driving, and activists constantly protested against the rule. For example, in several occasions from 1990 to 2011, Saudi women illegally drove out to the streets, and as a consequence were persecuted and fired. The biggest supporter of this activist movement, Muhammad bin Salman, wanted to loosen the Kingdom’s social repression in order to change Saudi Arabia’s repressed society.
Saudi Arabia’s repression is especially extreme because of its Islamic influences. For example, Sharia; the Islamic law demands male guardianship for all women. Sharia allows a female’s related male companion such as her father, brother, son or husband to make critical decisions for her. Adult women under the law of Sharia are required to obtain permission from a male guardian to perform basic necessities such as renting an apartment and filing legal claims. Furthermore, women are not allowed to freely access health care, travel, marry or exit prison. The inequality of Sharia can easily lead to abuse of women in the household.
Although victories such as earning the right to drive and the right to vote for municipal elections are significant victories, the fundamental problem is yet to be solved. Furthermore, with women’s inability to perform basic necessities, Saudi Arabia’s Vision2030 program seems impossible. Saudi Vision2030 acquires to put Saudi Arabia at “the heart of the Arab and Islamic worlds, the investment powerhouse and the hub connecting three continents.” When the country’s reliable source of oil expires, Saudi Arabia will need the entire population to keep up its economy. Saudi women are intelligent and educated, therefore with the allowance of women to participate in the economy, the government can truly benefit. Not only in Saudi Arabia, but equality of genders in all countries are a priority.