On the historic night of the lifting of the world’s only ban on female motorists, Saudi Arabian police officers handed out pink roses to women taking the wheel for the first time across the kingdom.
The officers were pictured personally distributing single roses to women drivers in the early hours of the morning on Sunday. The move itself goes against strict Saudi rules in the gender-segregated society which frowns upon male-female interactions.
Pictures shared on social media showed the roses accompanied by safety wish notes that read ‘safety be with you’. Road signs were also updated to read messages dedicated to female drivers. One said, ‘Sister drivers, we wish you safety always.’
The lifting of the ban is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s wide-ranging drive to modernise the kingdom, and is expected to be transformative for many women, freeing them from dependence on private chauffeurs or male relatives.
The move, however, coincided with a sweeping crackdown on female activists who long opposed the driving ban. Many women drivers also revealed they are cautiously bracing for a backlash from arch-conservatives who spent decades preaching that allowing female motorists would promote promiscuity and sin.
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