Saudi Shura Council denies it will support motion to allow women to drive

Saudi Shura Council denies it will support motion to allow women to drive

Council prerogatives only deal with discussing laws and the driving issue is a social one, argues member

Manama: A Saudi Shura Council member has rejected claims that the body would discuss and support a motion to allow women to drive in the country.

Sami Zaydan says it’s a “social issue” not a legal one and the Shura Council was not the appropriate forum to discuss the matter.

Reports last month claimed that the Shura Council, where women hold 30 of its 150 seats, would back the motion.

“The whole matter depends on a high decision. I personally encourage such a move that would equate Saudi women with their sisters in the other Gulf states,” he told the London-based daily Al Hayat.

The Shura Council prerogatives only deal with discussing and amending laws, he explained.

There is no law preventing women from driving but proponents of maintaining social traditions have blocked women from taking the wheel.

Women are allowed to drive in the other GCC countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

The Council spokesman, Mohammad Al Muhanna, also denied that the body would take up the issue.

Several women have defied social tradition, often times filming themselves while driving cars and sharing it on social media, in order to challenge social norms.