A billionaire Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal has taken a bold step against his country’s conservative rule, prohibiting women to drive. He said it is the high time that the women should start driving.
He is a member of the Saudi royal family. Talal posted a four-page long opinion on his website and linked to Twitter, stated it is ‘high time’ Saudi women start driving cars.
On his Twitter account he said, “Stop the debate: Time for women to drive”.
حان وقت قيادة المرأة للسيارةhttps://t.co/BBgyF8i1Gs
Stop the debate:
Time for women to drivehttps://t.co/6KAniFa4BT
— الوليد بن طلال (@Alwaleed_Talal) November 29, 2016
Talal said, “Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity.”
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive and women right activists have been arrested for withstanding the ban. The prince is an advocate of women’s rights in the Saudi Arabia.
He is the chairman of the Kingdom Holding Company (KHC) which owns stakes in the US bank Citibank, Euro Disney theme park, 21st Century Fox, Apple, General Motors, News Corp and Twitter.
The Saudi prince said preventing women from driving a car is an unjust act. “They are all unjust acts by a traditional society, far more restrictive than what is lawfully allowed by the precepts of religion.”
He said that lift the ban is an economic necessity as well as women’s right to lift restrictions. Talal calculated the average family of Saudi Arabia spends 3,800 riyals ($1000) per month on a driver which drains the family income.
The prince observed, “There are more than one million Saudi women in need of a safe means of transportation to take them to work every morning.”
He added, “Retaining foreign drivers not only has the effect of reducing a family’s disposable income… but also contributes to the siphoning of billions of riyals every year from the Saudi economy to foreign destinations in the form of remittances.”
A women’s right activist in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, Sahar Hassan Nasief said when an influential person like him appealed for women driving then there is a hope it could change the system.
She told AFP, “Everybody’s talking about him. I think his comments gave us a lot of hope.”