The king of Saudi Arabia has issued an official order to allow women to drive starting June next year. This will be the first time that women will be able to drive in the country. Currently, if a woman is found driving, she is either fined or put into jail. Saudi Arabia is the only nation in the world that bans women from driving.
Women don’t have the same rights as men in the country. There are a bunch of “cannot dos” for women. However, the country has been making changes in recent years. In 2012, Saudi Arabia sent women for the first time to take part in the Olympic Games (image). Women were allowed to vote and stand in the local election for the first time in 2015. As of this month, women were allowed to go into a sports stadium. Physical education classes will soon be offered to girls at public schools.
Most women still cannot leave the country, get a job, marry, or divorce without the permission of their male guardian (who is their father, husband, brother, or son). When women go outside their homes, they are required to cover their bodies and head with a veil, usually black in color.
Saudi Arabia is a monarchy, where the leader of the country is the king. King Salman (image) is the current king. Various tribes ruled the area that is today called Saudi Arabia. Abdulaziz Al-Saud conquered and united the tribes and formed the modern nation of Saudi Arabia in 1932, becoming the first king. He is believed to have had over 30 sons and about 20 wives. All the kings after him have been his sons, including the current king.
The capital of Saudi Arabia is Riyadh and the official language is Arabic. All Saudis follow the religion of Islam. In fact, non-Muslims cannot have Saudi citizenship. Saudi Arabia is governed according to Islamic law. The country has a special police force that makes sure that the laws of the religion are followed.
Here is a video about women driving in Saudi Arabia.
Did you know?
Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the world without a river.
Image Credits: https://www.saudi.gov.sa for King Salman’s image, https://www.saudi.gov.sa for the image of the flag, Youtube Screenshot/Middle East Monitor and https://www.commondreams.org for the image of the Saudi woman driving, http://olympics.al-monitor.com for Attar’s image
Sources: https://www.saudi.gov.sa, New York Times, Huffington Post, http://www.pbs.org