Perhaps the most striking image from Saudi Arabia's historic lifting of the women's driving ban is not that of female motorists taking the wheel, but of them accepting decorative pink roses handed to them by police officers in Riyadh's early morning hours.
The crucial point is that a small gesture such as the distribution of roses by Saudi Arabian police officers goes against the kingdom’s strict gender segregation rules, which frowns upon even the most basic of male-female interactions.
Of course, the transformational change might never have taken place if it weren’t for Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambition to modernise the conservative kingdom through a series of social and economic reforms and boost its oil-dependent economy through the inclusion of 50% of its workforce – women.
The move alone could add as much as $90 billion to Saudi Arabia’s economic output by 2030, with the benefits extending beyond that date, impacting sectors ranging from petrol to motor retail.
In this edition of Inside AB, Jeremy Lawrence and Lubna Hamdan look at the impact of the changes still to come, and also what support women need to be able to fully participate in the economic and social future of the kingdom.
(Source: Arabianbusiness.com YouTube channel)