No need for guardians as Bahraini women drive in Saudi Arabia

Saudi women too have right to drive over King Fahd Causeway into Bahrain, ambassador says, putting to an end speculations about the possibility for international driving by Saudi women

Manama: Bahraini women will be able to drive over the King Fahd Causeway and in Saudi Arabia without the need for a guardian, the Saudi ambassador has said.


Saudi women will also be able to use the 25-kilometre terrestrial link into Bahrain, but the rules to leave the kingdom are not related to the right to drive, Abdullah Bin Abdul Malek Al Shaikh said in remarks published in Manama on Monday.

The two countries have been linked by the causeway since November 26, 1986, but no woman has been allowed to drive on it since it was opened.

However, with the application of the Saudi royal orders to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia starting June 24, the causeway will no longer be off limits.

“There will be no limits on Saudi or Bahraini women to drive between the two kingdoms,” Al Shaikh said, putting an end to speculations about the possibility for international driving by Saudi women.

“There is full equality between men and women in Saudi Arabia when it comes to driving rights.”

With only days left before the historic decision is implemented, excitement is building up among Saudi women.

The decision to allow women to drive was announced in September, but Saudi Arabia decided on a grace period to prepare fully for the logistics related to the deeply significant changes. These included setting up driving schools, enacting a singularly tough anti-harassment law and conducting awareness campaigns.

On June 4, Saudi Arabia started delivering Saudi driving licences to new drivers and to women who possessed foreign licences.

The right of women to drive is part of an ambitious programme to modernise society conducted by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Women were on January 1 also allowed to watch sporting events, including football matches, live in stadiums.

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