Report from the May 9, 2017 issue of al-Bawaba. A link to the story is here and text is below. Notice the nuance that the Shura Council may ask that licenses be issued, before women are allowed to drive. It does make sense, to get those women who want them, trained and permitted...and then to allow them to use the licenses.
Saudi Arabia's Shura Council is expected to debate on Tuesday a motion to allow Saudi women to
obtain driving licences - a significant step towards a possible end to
the country's ban on women driving.
debate in the Consultative Assembly follows recommendations submitted
by council member Fahad bin Juma to allow Saudi women to obtain driving
licences - even if they still cannot drive in the country.
Juma said the current ban on Saudi women getting behind the wheel should
not interfere with their ability to obtain a license, which he said can
benefit them outside the country.
"My recommendation is in line
with human rights and eases the misrepresentation of Saudi Arabia, which
has gained a reputation for banning women from driving," he said,
adding that an eventual lifting of prohibitions on women driving will
reduce the number of taxi drivers needed and the associated financial
burden on families.
While the issue of women driving remains
hotly contested among activists in the country, the Shura council
remains divided between those favouring a lifting of the driving ban and
others who see the ban as a low-priority matter in face of other issues
in the country.
"The issue of women driving is not that important
right now. What is more important is providing a dignified livelihood
for Saudi citizens," Asma al-Zahrani said.
The Shura Council is the kingdom's formal advisory body. It can propose laws to the cabinet but has limited powers.
proposed discussion in the Shura council follows reports of an
incremental loosening of the country's ultra-conservative laws on women.
this month, local media reports said the country's King Salman bin
Abdulaziz Al Saud issued orders backing the relaxation of rules on male
guardianship over Saudi women.
The orders are alleged to
include the provision that Saudi women can access government services -
including education and healthcare - without a male's consent.
public campaigns calling for the promotion of women's rights in Saudi
Arabia remain at the forefront of activists' efforts both within and
beyond the Kingdom's borders.
While #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen campaign
enters its 300th day, the #Women2Drive campaign is into it's sixth year
after having been catalysed by the efforts of female activists who took
to the roads in contravention of the country's law.
Saudi women protested the government's $3.5 billion investment in taxi
service Uber, claiming the kingdom would be profiting directly from the
female driving ban.
Saudi Arabia remains the only country in the world where women are banned from driving following a law introduced in 1957.