Saudi women all set to get behind the wheel

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Riyadh, June 23: Saudi Arabia is all set to allow women to take control of the steering wheel from Sunday, making it the last country in the world to lift female driving restrictions. It will be a historic day as after more than 60 years spent stuck in the passenger seat, the Gulf kingdom’s 15.1 million women for the first time will legally be able to take to the roads. Saudi Arabia lifted the driving ban on women in September 2017 as part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s “Vision 2030” programme to diversify the economy away from oil and open up Saudi society. According to the BBC, accountancy firm PwC predicted that the number of women on Saudi Arabia’s roads will swell to three million by 2020. Thousands of women have signed up for driving lessons as new female-only programmes have sprung up. Among those women who will not be celebrating on the streets on Sunday are the pioneers who broke social and legal taboos decades ago with their protests demanding the right to drive. (IANS)