“We have been waiting for a very long time.”Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, is an absolute monarchy ruled according to Shariah law.Saudi officials and clerics have provided numerous explanations for the ban over the years.
Saudi leaders also hope the new policy will help the economy by increasing women’s participation in the workplace.
While the enforcement of guardianship laws has loosened in recent years, there is little to stop Saudi men from greatly limiting the movements of their wives or daughters.
The ambassador, who is a son of the king, said that women would be able to drive alone but that the Interior Ministry would decide whether they could work as professional drivers.
Some said that it was inappropriate in Saudi culture for women to drive, or that male drivers would not know how to handle having women in cars next to them.
Others argued that allowing women to drive would lead to promiscuity and the collapse of the Saudi family.