More Roadblocks for Saudi Women Who Want to Drive

Fouzia Khan reports in Arab News:

A proposal to make it illegal to drive vehicles in the Gulf States while wearing the veil could hamper efforts by Saudi women to drive cars in the Kingdom.

The Directors General of the Gulf Cooperation Council, in its 13th meeting on Monday in Jeddah, considered the draft from Gulf traffic departments as part of a larger effort to outline more specific unified traffic violations for all Gulf States.

While the draft is not a blanket ban on the veil, its passage into law would make it illegal for drivers to cover their faces in front of traffic police officers.

Saudi Arabia is the only GCC country that bans women from driving. In the past, Saudi women could easily obtain a driving license from other GCC countries, but some restrictions have been put in place to stop that in recent years. The latest of these restrictions come from Kuwait, which now bans Saudi women from obtaining a driving license without the permission of their male guardian, according to al-Hayat daily. “We know there are certain reservations about women driving in Saudi Arabia,” a Kuwaiti official told the newspaper. “Sometimes the male guardian does not approve that their women drive, and we don’t want to cause a family problem by granting a driving license to a woman without the knowledge of her family.”