The Arab News reports on November 9, 2014 - link to the story here,
full text below.
The Shoura Council on Saturday said it has not made any recommendation
to lift the ban on female drivers in the Kingdom, contrary to a foreign
An Associated Press report carried by international
media outlets quoted an unnamed Shoura member as saying the king’s
advisory council recommended that the government lift the ban, on
condition that only women over 30 be allowed to drive
and they would need permission from a male relative — usually a husband or father, but lacking those, a brother or son.
would be allowed to drive from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday through
Wednesday and noon to 8 p.m. on Thursday and Friday,” said the report.
conditions also require that a woman driver wear conservative dress and
no make-up, the official said. Within cities, they can drive without a
male relative in the car, but outside of cities, a male is required to
be present,” it said.
It added that a “female traffic department”
would have to be created to deal with female drivers if their cars broke
down or they encountered other problems, and to issue fines.
It supposedly recommended the female traffic officers be under the supervision of the “religious agencies.”
council placed heavy restrictions on interactions between female
drivers and male traffic officers or other male drivers, and stiff
penalties for those who broke them. Merely speaking to a female driver,
it said, was punishable by a one-month prison sentence and a fine,” the
report further said.
The Shoura can only make recommendations to the
Cabinet. Nonetheless, Shoura spokesman Mohammed Al-Muhanna said the
report is false and misleading as the council has not made any such
decision at all.
Commenters have suggested on social media that the
report may have been based on a 2008 proposal to the Shoura Council,
which had not made any progress.
The AP report itself wondered why
the restrictions would be different on Thursday and Friday, as the Saudi
weekend was changed by royal decree in 2013 to Friday and Saturday.
in the Kingdom had been granted plenty of rights and privileges since
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah became King in 2005,
including his appointment of 30 women to the Shoura Council.
by women on the Kingdom’s roads, however, had remained a contentious
issue, with those against it citing various reasons, including the
hazards of driving that women should not be exposed to.