Saudi women will be allowed to drive starting in June 2018, ending the country's long-established policy which has arrested and jailed women for taking the wheel.
The policy implementation is driven in part by the country’s desire to improve its economy, according to the New York Times. Low oil prices has limited the amount of government jobs that Saudis have relied on, and Saudi Arabia is trying to push more citizens, including women, into gainful employment.
Saudi women rely on ride-sharing apps as a mobility solution, according to the New York Times. Saudi Arabia will need to create the infrastructure for women to learn to drive or to obtain drivers licenses.
The announcement was made by King Salman by way of a royal decree, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Officials of the country had previously defended the policy for myriad reasons, including that it was inappropriate for women to drive and that male drivers wouldn’t know how to handle seeing women drivers on the road, reported the New York Times.