Top Saudi Women: Enough "Excuses," Lift Ban on Women Drivers

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Oct. 9 2013 8:13 PM

Top Saudi Women: Enough "Excuses," Lift Ban on Women Drivers

A Saudi woman and her children get into a taxi in Riyadh on June 14, 2011.

Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images

Influential Saudi women on the country’s top advisory council have called for an end to the ban that keeps women in the country from driving. This week an official request was made to the head of the ultraconservative Shura Council by female council member Latifa al-Shaalan to address all "excuses" used to keep women from driving in Saudi Arabia, according to the Associated Press.

The ban on women drivers in Saudi Arabia is de facto, the law does not explicitly prohibit them from getting behind the wheel. Religious edicts by influential clerics, however, are enforced by the police, such that driving licesnses are not issued to women, effectively banning women from driving.


King Abdullah appointed 30 women to the advisory council in January and, this week, al-Shaalan "stood and proposed that the Shura Council's transportation committee should include a recommendation that the transport ministry make preparations to allow women to drive," according to the Guardian. The Shura Council must first decide whether to accept the proposal before it is presented to the country’s transportation ministry. If the ministry rejects it, members may be called on to vote on whether to discuss the ban as a separate issue, Hanan al-Ahmadi, a female member of the council, told the Guardian.

The dramatic move comes as women seeking the right to drive in Saudi Arabia have been energized, the AP reports, by a campaign calling on them to drive on Oct. 26.


Elliot Hannon is a writer in Washington, D.C. Follow him on Twitter.



Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Colorado Is Ground Zero for the Fight Over Female Voters

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The NFL Explains How It Sees “the Role of the Female”

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B


Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.


The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.