Will Saudi Arabia’s New Heir Let Women Drive?
Saudi Arabia is a non-traditional kingdom when it comes to choosing its heirs to the throne. The current King Salman originally had Prince Muqrin, his half-brother, as his heir, but replaced him in 2015 with the now-former Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz, his cousin. Now Mohammed bin Nayef has been stripped of his roles as Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister, and Interior Minister of Saudi Arabia in favor of the younger Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. All of these names and the swapping of roles is enough to make an American’s head spin, but what does that mean for the women in the country yearning to drive their own cars instead of paying tdrivers?
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The new Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is 31 years old but has plenty of government experience as Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister. Recently the prince launched his Vision 2030 initiative to break the Middle Eastern country’s dependence on oil in its economy. One of the many other pieces of this vision is to bring more women into the workplace, and so far that has helped women in the Finance sector reach the top posts of their industry, including a woman running the country’s stock exchange.
However, while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been an advocate of professional woman, he has refused to take a hard stance on women behind the wheel. According to CNN, the prince has said in the past that Saudi culture, the real reason women can’t drive, cannot be forced to change against its will. While that suggests that he wouldn’t stand in the way of any plans to allow women behind the wheel it also is a warning bell that he will not stand up for Saudi women until the cause has won in the court of public opinion.
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We can make as many assumptions about the Crown Prince that we want, but in the end it will all boil down to what words he puts into action. We wish the best for the people of Saudi Arabia and hope that soon they might have women drivers on the road.
News Source: CNN