Russia, Saudi Arabia to fund joint projects

Ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia has some of the world's tightest restrictions on women, despite ambitious government reforms aimed at boosting female employment.

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, also welcomed the Saudi decision, writing on Twitter that it represented "an important step in the right direction". In 2013, a group of 10 women chose to challenge the ban and drive. The turning point in the Wahhabi kingdom - the only country in the world with such a ban - was announced both on State television and at an event in Washington, the New York Times reports.

Women have long campaigned for the right to drive, even organizing a coordinated show of force by driving in the kingdom in defiance of a decades-old ban.

Russian Federation says it plans to set up a new investment platform with Saudi Arabia to fund joint industrial projects particularly in the area of energy. The implementation - God willing - will be from 10/10/1439 (Islamic date in June 2018) and in accordance with rules and regulations, and the completion of the necessary steps.

"Saudi Arabia allows women to drive", the Kingdom's Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Twitter, according to Arab News.

This will certainly start a positive transformation in many aspects of the Saudi society. In a separate statement, the government said many senior religious leaders found no, quote, "impediment" in letting women drive.

Salman says women won't need permission legally from a male guardian to get a driver's license and won't need a guardian in the vehicle with them to drive.

Still others sought to draw attention to the human rights violations still plaguing the country.

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"I think our leadership understands that our society is ready".

Salman bin Abdulaziz el Saud, king of Saudi Arabia, issued a decree to allow women to drive.

Aziza Youssef told The Associated Press by phone from Riyadh that she was "really excited" about Tuesday's announcement, calling it a "good step forward for women's rights".

Women in the kingdom are also bound by law to wear long robes and a headscarf and require the consent of a male guardian for most legal actions.

Women's rights activists since the 1990s have been pushing for the right to drive, saying it represents their larger struggle for equal rights under the law.

In the past few years, the Kingdom has incrementally granted women more rights and visibility, including participation in the Olympic Games in London and Rio, positions on the country's top consultative council and the right to run and vote in local elections in 2015.

There's a lot of work that still needs to be done in order to achieve gender equality in Saudi Arabia. Only two days ago, for the first time in history, Saudi Arabia allowed women to go to the stadium to participate in celebrations for the 87th anniversary of the kingdom's foundation.

"Saudi Arabia's King Salman has issued a historic royal decree granting driving licenses for women in the kingdom", the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya news channel reported.

  • Carlos Nash