We have all heard the tales of a desert kingdom far far away, where under the sand lies vast amounts of oil. Where religious code is the law of the land, where women must cover themselves from head to toe in black veils and must ask the male guardian for permission to do anything. This is Saudi Arabia; whom once infamously known for their oppression of women, is now beginning to expand human rights to its female citizens under the guidance of Crown, Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
On Monday June 4, 2018, ten women were allowed to get their driver's license in anticipation for the lifting of the ban on women driving on June 24, 2018. The government has allowed for the opening of new cinemas, concerts, and other entertainment venues that are not only opened for women, but now will allow women and men to mingle together. The government will soon launch new economic programs that aim to increase women's participation rate in the workforce.
Yet, there is still a reason to not be too optimistic. Saudi Arabia has arrested around seventeen activists in their effort to not overly anger the conservative forces in the kingdom too much. Several of those activists were women advocating for increased women's rights. The Saudi Royal Family is still filled with traditional, radical Islamists that are capable of slowing the pace of reform in the country, and possibly even turn it back.
While there appears to be strings attacted to these reforms, they are all still a vast improvement for women. For the first time in their lives, women will be able to enjoy many of the freedoms we take for granted here in the United States, and while we may not be able to personally help their cause, we can still stay informed on what's going on and root for the cause of millions of our fellow human beings.