Statement: A driver’s licence for Saudi women: a vital step to other freedoms

Statement by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

Date: Wednesday, September 27, 2017

We welcome King Salman’s decree allowing women to drive, and trust that this now starts the journey to substantive equality for women and girls in Saudi Arabia, with more access to public spaces and life, increased participation in the job market and a life free of violence in all spheres.

Women being able to apply for a driver’s licence in Saudi Arabia, and subsequently drive, is a long-awaited milestone in the Kingdom, that puts them at par with their male counterparts in this one area of public life and gives them a right to a life-saving skill that they should never have been denied.

UN Women supports and strongly encourages all women to live up to their full capacities; the ability to move independently within their country is a vital step to the other freedoms that are their right as economic, political and social actors, and that bring benefits to all of society.