In his defense of the country’s ban on female drivers, Saudi Arabia’s most senior cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin-Abdullah al-Sheikh is of the opinion that women if allowed to drive will be ‘exposed to evil’. He said men “obsessed with women” and with “weak spirits” could end up causing female drivers harm and that male relatives would not know their whereabouts.
Although women driving in Saudi Arabia is not against the law, in practice women are unable to obtain driving licences. Exceptions are occasionally made in rural areas if a woman needs to drive for her family life. Despite stifling conservative norms, the Kingdom has made some progress in women rights, women were allowed to vote for the first time last year.
In February 2015, Saleh al-Saadoon, a conservative historian, sparked an outcry by saying that women in Saudi Arabia should not be allowed to drive on the grounds that they might get raped if their cars broke down.
Western women drove, he explained, because rape was not such a big deal to them.