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Saudi Arabia Lifts Ban on Women Driving

Men soon won't be the only ones on the road in Saudi Arabia, the New York Times reports, after King Salman announced Tuesday via state television that the kingdom will lift a nearly century-long ban on women driving. The decision comes eight months after women were able to run and vote in local elections for the first time in the monarchy's history.

The decision marks a symbolic shift in the kingdom's apparent willingness to embrace more progressive values—at least symbolically—after decades of receiving condemnation from international human rights organizations, foreign governments, and even some residents of Saudi Arabia for its treatment of women, among other issues. A few members of the Saudi royal family have been vocal advocates of the policy change in recent months.

But women won't be able to get behind the wheel immediately. There exists no social or political infrastructure through which women can learn to drive or obtain driver's licenses. And, per the Times report, it will take time to train police officers how to interact with women on the road, since men and women who aren't related to each other rarely interact without supervision.