DUBAI: In an episode this month of Saudi Arabia’s most popular television show, a Saudi man of the future is seen sitting in his house as his daughter pulls into the driveway, her kids piled into the back of the car.
“Where have you been?” he asks.
“The kids were bored so I took them to the movies,” his daughter replies matter-of-factly as she gets out of the driver’s seat.
In Saudi Arabia, where women are forbidden from driving (and where there are no movie theaters either), the skit portends something of a revolution. From a taboo about which there could be no open discussion, a woman’s right to drive is developing into a topic of growing and lively debate in Saudi Arabia.
Coming on top of other recent changes – women may now travel abroad without male accompaniment (although they still require male permission), earn graduate degrees in law and engineering, seek divorce and own their own companies – the driving discussion is noteworthy. Whether it signals that women will actually be driving soon, or merely talking about it openly, remains to be seen.
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