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Saudi women begin to drive, but activists remain in custody: NPR



A Saudi woman celebrates with her friends as she drives her car in al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Lifting the ban on women is a milestone for women in the Kingdom, who depend on drivers, male relatives, taxis and driver services to get to work, go shopping and move easily.

Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters


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Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters

A Saudi woman celebrates with her friends when she drives her car in al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia on Sunday. Lifting the ban on women is a milestone for women in the Kingdom, who rely on drivers, male relatives, taxis and travel services to get to work, go shopping and just move around.

Hamad I Mohammed / Reuters

When the women in Saudi Arabia changed the wheel shortly after midnight on Sunday – the first time they could legally do so in the kingdom – it ended the long-standing ban on female drivers.

The mood was solemn: New drivers have shot music from their cars. The social media showed up with cheering photos and videos, and traffic police in some Saudi cities presented the women drivers with flowers. From afar, Aseel al-Hamad, the first woman to join the Saudi Arabian Motorsport Federation, welcomed the end of the ban when driving a Formula 1 car in France.