Saudis Loosen Women’s Shackles

Various media are reporting on some serious reforms in Saudi Arabia, starting with giving women permission to drive. The story, so far sourced only to a correspondent of the UK’s The Telegraph, but being widely picked up, says that the government has bowed to the inevitable and is in the process of writing regulations and setting up the infrastructure needed, e.g., women-only license and registration offices.

Better sourced is a story on Reuters about the Saudi government’s also permitting women to register in hotels, without a guardian. This has been an issue with Saudi businesswomen who find it difficult to do business in cities in which they have no personal infrastructure–family or residential property.

Both issues are sure to raise hell with the religious conservatives who seem to believe that a woman alone is merely an opportunity for profligate sex. I’m confident that the Saudi religious police will be kept busy scouring the hotel registries and cruising the streets—just like all the hormonally ramped up adolescents—on the look-out for available women.

And since non-driving women are already being accused of causing most traffic accidents, there’s sure to be a flood of stories about how bad women drive.

But baby steps are welcome in a country that’s trying to pull itself out of the hole it’s created for itself.

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John Burgess
About John Burgess
John Burgess retired after 25 years as a US Foreign Service Officer, serving predominantly in the Middle East. He contributed 35 pieces to OTB between February 2006 and April 2014. He was the proprietor of the influential Crossroads Arabia until his death in February 2016.


  1. Triumph says:

    But baby steps are welcome in a country that’s trying to pull itself out of the hole it’s created for itself.

    The “country” didn’t create the hole–it was created by the fraud, Muhammad and his acolytes Bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Yasser Arafat, and Hussein Obama.

  2. Tlaloc says:

    it was created by the fraud, Muhammad

    And people wonder why we’re losing the “war” on terror.

    Here’s the funny thing- we didn’t invade Saudi Arabia (despite the strong ties of groups in that country to the 9/11 attack), in fact we’ve been extremely nice to them. The result- slowly (very slowly) the regime is modernizing.

    At the same time we did invade Iraq, which *used* to be one of the most progressive countries in the middle east for women. It has backslid enormously.