A Saudi prince has renewed his argument that women should be allowed to drive, saying on Twitter that doing so would eliminate the need for hundreds of thousands of foreign drivers.
Activists point out that driving is not actually legally prohibited for Saudi women, but traffic officials refuse to grant them licenses because clerics in the country forbid it. As a result, women rely on drivers to ferry them around, one of many factors pulling foreign workers into the Arab kingdom.
Saudi women have repeatedly protested the ban by driving in the kingdom, and faced detentions and death threats for doing so. Activist Manal Sharif, who has championed the campaign, says driving is part of a broader push for women to enjoy a host of freedoms now denied to them, including the ability to work, study, marry or travel without getting written permission from a male guardian.
“For the religious establishment, this is like their last castle, so if they lose this castle, they lose their grip on women, on controlling women,” Sharif said at a United Nations forum this year.