The Evolution Of Women’s Rights In Saudi Arabia Is Extremely Overwhelming To Witness

Women’s rights have changed drastically throughout the years.

We all know Saudi Arabia is probably the most conservative country in the world.The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the only country that doesn’t allow women to drive announced that women will now be able to obtain a driver’s license without their legal guardians in June 2018. Also, there is a committee set up to develop a plan on how to implement the royal decree in accordance with religious and regulatory standards.

“This is a historic big day in our kingdom,” Prince Khaled bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, said during a press conference Tuesday at the Saudi embassy in Washington.

We take a look at how the evolution of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia has been.

1955- The first school for girls


The state of Saudi was established in 1932 and in 1940 only boys had the right to education. Girls were exempt from the step towards formal education. It was in 1955 that 30 girls were Dar al-Hanan school in Jeddah. The school was founded by Queen Effat Al-Thunayan Al-Saud.

1988- The first university for women


Effat Al-Thunayan took the decision to establish the Center of Public Service and Continuing Education. The college was finally set up in 1999 and it was named Queen Effat College for Girls. Later, the building caught fire and reopened in 2005, five years after Queen’s death.

2001- Identity Cards for women


The country started issuing Identity Cards for women but they were eligible for it only after the age of 22. That too, with the consent of the guardian as well as a letter from their employer. The cards were only to prove who they are. It was only in 2006 that they were allowed to get the identity cards without permission.

2005- End of forced marriages


The reason for the divorce rates going high was women getting married under pressure. They passed a law that the fathers who coerce their daughters to get married will be jailed and not released.

2009- The first female government minister


Saudi Arabia’s government got its first female minister in 2009. A US-educated former teacher was made deputy education minister in charge of a new department for female students.

2012- The first female Olympic athlete


Saudi Arabia agreed to send female athletes to represent the country at the 2012 Olympics in London. Sarah Attar represented the country in the 800 meters race with a headscarf.

2013- Women were allowed to ride bicycles and motorbikes.


In 2013, Saudi Arabia allowed its women to ride bicycles and motorbikes but only in recreational areas. Along with a male relative present only in the traditional Islamic body covering.

2013- Women allowed in the Shura


Shura is their consultative council, King Abdullah appointed 30 women as a part of their consultative council. Being a part of Shura enabled them to run the office.

2015- Women can participate and vote in the elections


The Saudi Arabian elections in 2015 saw women being a part of it. Women were allowed to vote and run for the office for the first time. At the 2015 poll, 20 women were elected to municipal roles in an absolute monarchy.

 2017- The first ever female head of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange appointed.


Sarah Al Suhaimi’s appointment is significant for Saudi Arabia where the female unemployment rate was more than 34 percent. NCB Capital Co. Chief Executive Officer Sarah Al Suhaimi was the first women to be chairing the largest bourse in the Middle East.

2018- Women allowed to drive.


2018 came along with hope for freedom. From June, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive without their male guardians or the male relatives in the car.

2018- Women allowed in sports stadiums.


Under domestic and International pressure, Saudi Arabia granted its women the sporting rights and also a separate stadium in 2018.

There is hope for a better future.

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