Saudi King Salman on Tuesday decreed that women be allowed to drive cars, ending the conservative Islamic kingdom’s status as the only country where that is forbidden, CNBC reports.
The royal decree ordered the formation of a ministerial body to give advice within 30 days and then implement the order by June 2018.
It stated that the move must “apply and adhere to the necessary Sharia standards,” without providing specific details, and added that a majority of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars had approved its permissibility.
Saudi Arabia has been widely criticized for being the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite ambitious government targets to increase their public role, especially in the workforce.
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.
The kingdom has been opening up more areas for women through the government’s modernizing reforms, which have sparked tensions with influential clerics upon whose support the ruling family relies.
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