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Tuesday's royal decree overturning a ban that had been widely condemned by Saudi activists and global human rights organizations was the boldest move yet in Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's effort to open up Saudi society, a counterpart to an ambitious program to modernize the economy and reduce its reliance on oil. Even United States President Donald Trump said that it was a "positive step towards promoting women's rights". The government should end those restrictions.

It's also a change that's been won by women who've used social media and online campaigning since 2011 to fight for their rights.

May 2005: Mohammad al-Zulfa, a member of the Consultative Council at the time, suggested that his fellow legislators think about studying the possibility of allowing women over 35 or 40 to drive.

Sharif, who now lives in Australia, was jailed in Saudi Arabia 2011 after posting a video on YouTube of herself driving a vehicle. There is a new Sharif in town and he is Crown Prince Mohammed Salman, the 32-year old son of the 81-year old King Salman.

"This is huge. There is nothing really more hard than this fight for women to drive because it touches every single woman." said al-Sharif.

November 6: 1990: Forty seven women met that sunny afternoon at a mall parking lot in Riyadh. Traffic police stopped them, took them into custody, and released them only after their male guardians signed statements that the women would not attempt to drive again.

But the women will not be able to drive tomorrow. The then-interior minister issued a decree prohibiting driving on the basis of the fatwa. There was another event in Washington that announced the lifting of the ban for women drivers.

In a first for the conservative religious kingdom, Saudi Arabia has declared that women will finally be able to drive, the culmination of years of activism and appeals both from within and outside the Gulf nation. Some even faced trial.

Last year, Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, said Tehran's leaders are "not Muslims" and said they were descendants of "Majuws"— a term that refers to Zoroastrians and those who worship fire.

Men and women danced in the streets to drums and electronic music, in scenes that were a stunning novelty in a country known for its tight gender segregation and austere vision of Islam.

Saudi Arabian women are prevented from travelling overseas unless they have gained approval from their male guardian. They regularly face difficulty conducting a range of transactions - from renting an apartment to filing legal claims - without a male relative's consent or presence.

"We have. established a female-only call centre that has created hundreds of opportunities for women", pointed out Mr Elyas.

In April 2017, King Salman issued an order that women should not be denied government services because they did not have approval from a male guardian "unless there is a regulatory obligation for this request", it is yet to be enforced. Though women are allowed to work, the requirement to arrange rides for themselves costs a great deal of time and money, not to mention the fact that they are perfectly capable of driving themselves.


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