UN chief hails Saudi Arabia’s decision to lift ban on women drivers


UNITED NATIONS, June 25 (APP):UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has welcomed the lifting on Sunday of the driving ban on women in Saudi Arabia and expressed his hope that ending the prohibition will generate more new opportunities for women in the Kingdom.
A royal decree was issued in September announcing that the longstanding ban would end in June 2018. At that time, the Secretary-General and other senior UN officials said they saw the move as an important first step that could lead to increased participation of women in the job market, among other areas of public life.
Saudi Arabia ended the prohibition on women driving at midnight on 24 June.
In a statement issued Sunday by his spokesperson, Guterres paid tribute to the women of Saudi Arabia for their efforts in achieving this important legal milestone, “which should contribute to women’s economic and social mobility and the development of the country.”
“He looks forward to witnessing Saudi Arabia’s continuing journey toward substantive equality for women and girls,” the statement said.
The ban’s end, ordered last September by King Salman, is part of sweeping reforms pushed by his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in a bid to transform the economy of the world’s top oil exporter and open up its society.