Thomas Lippman, former Middle East bureau chief of the Washington Post, spoke about Saudi Arabia's future at the Georgetown's School of Foreign Service in Qatar on 1/10/2011. Lippman has a new book coming out soon: SAUDI ARABIA ON THE EDGE: THE PERILOUS FUTURE OF AN AMERICAN ALLY. You can read the coverage of his speech by clicking on the link above.
I'm posting about his presentation because it is rare for an American male expert on Saudi Arabia to even address the issue of women driving. They usually try to skate around the issue and say that it's a matter of tradition, and that Saudi society is not ready for this change.
It's refreshing to hear a new melody on the subject coming from someone like Mr. Lippman.
Here is the quote, as per the website, www.ameinfo.com
During his presentation, titled "A Changing Kingdom: Saudi Arabia in 2030," Lippman discussed how the forces of demography and economics in Saudi Arabia will transform the oil-rich country, laying out the predictions that could be made with relative certainty about the country's development over the next generation. He began by talking about the country's expected population growth rate, estimated to slow to 70% as a result of the growing number of women pursuing higher education, delaying marriage and having fewer children, as well as the difficulty of sustaining large families in the current economy.
"In the coming years, we'll see more women entering the workforce," said Lippman, adding, "Women will be driving legally if not this year, then in the next two years."