Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, a billionaire and member of the Saudi Royal family, on Wednesday called for an end to his country’s infamous ban on women driving. The prince, who doesn’t hold a former government post and due to his nearly $19 billion net worth is known as the ‘Arab Warren Buffett,’ issued a lengthy statement on his website, which he shared a link to on Twitter. The statement, titled ‘It’s high time that women start driving their cars,’ argued that the time has come for Saudi Arabia to “turn this page on this issue” the way it has with other social issues over the last 100 years. Alwaleed argues that “Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity.” Ever the businessman, Alwaleed centered his argument for lifting the ban on economic necessity.
Falling oil prices over the last year or so have left the kingdom with a major revenue shortfall, something that has had the greatest impact on the middle class. Saudi Arabia chief revenue sources come from it’s vast oil reserves and exports. “Today, circumstances have changed, and having women to drive has become an urgent social demand predicated upon current economic circumstances,” Alwaleed wrote.
حان وقت قيادة المرأة للسيارةhttps://t.co/BBgyF8i1Gs
Stop the debate:
Time for women to drivehttps://t.co/6KAniFa4BT
— الوليد بن طلال (@Alwaleed_Talal) November 29, 2016
Alwaleed is not the first Saudi prince to float such a notion. Earlier this year, 30-year-old Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman proposed that it might be time to allow women to drive “it is an issue that relates to the community,” but he quickly backed off the remarks after a top Saudi cleric criticized the idea, saying, giving women the right to drive is “a dangerous matter that exposes women to evil.”
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive automobiles.
Read the full story at The Washington Post.