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Saudi women take the driving seat as longstanding ban ends

Updated : 2018-06-27 11:53:00

Saudi women are in the driver's seat for the first time in their country and steering their way through busy city streets just minutes after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted on Sunday.

It's a euphoric and historic moment for women who have had to rely on their husbands, fathers, brothers and drivers to run basic errands, get to work, visit friends or even drop kids off at school. The ban had relegated women to the backseat, restricting when and how they move around.But after midnight Sunday, Saudi women finally joined women around the world in being able to get behind the wheel of a car and simply drive.

In photo taken June 22, 2018 photo, women wait in line to ride go carts at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In photo taken June 22, 2018 photo, women wait in line to ride go carts at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 22, 2018 photo, women watch a video on driving at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 22, 2018 photo, women watch a video on driving at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 23, 2018 photo, 27-year old Mabkhoutah al-Mari poses for a photograph holding her new car license at the Saudi Driving School inside Princess Nora University in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 23, 2018 photo, 27-year old Mabkhoutah al-Mari poses for a photograph holding her new car license at the Saudi Driving School inside Princess Nora University in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 23, 2018 photo, a Saudi student practices on a driving simulator at the Saudi Driving School inside Princess Nora University in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 23, 2018 photo, a Saudi student practices on a driving simulator at the Saudi Driving School inside Princess Nora University in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Hessah al-Ajaji drivers her car down the capital's busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. Saudi women are in the driver's seat for the first time in their country and steering their way through busy city streets just minutes after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Hessah al-Ajaji drivers her car down the capital's busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. Saudi women are in the driver's seat for the first time in their country and steering their way through busy city streets just minutes after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 22, 2018 photo, a woman drives a go cart at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 22, 2018 photo, a woman drives a go cart at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Hessah al-Ajaji drivers her car down the capital's busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. Saudi women are in the driver's seat for the first time in their country and steering their way through busy city streets just minutes after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Hessah al-Ajaji drivers her car down the capital's busy Tahlia Street after midnight for the first time in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Sunday, June 24, 2018. Saudi women are in the driver's seat for the first time in their country and steering their way through busy city streets just minutes after the world's last remaining ban on women driving was lifted on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 22, 2018 photo, women wait in line to ride go carts at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 22, 2018 photo, women wait in line to ride go carts at a road safety event for female drivers launched at the Riyadh Park Mall in Saudi Arabia. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Maha Mohammed poses for a photograph on a motorbike as she learns how to ride, at the Bikers Skills institute in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 23, 2018. As the kingdom prepares to lift a ban on women driving, Saudi women are being pushed to the forefront of a major transformation being spearheaded by the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It also places women in the crosshairs of a decades-old pull-and-tug between Saudis agitating for more social openings and a majority that remains deeply conservative. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
Maha Mohammed poses for a photograph on a motorbike as she learns how to ride, at the Bikers Skills institute in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on June 23, 2018. As the kingdom prepares to lift a ban on women driving, Saudi women are being pushed to the forefront of a major transformation being spearheaded by the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It also places women in the crosshairs of a decades-old pull-and-tug between Saudis agitating for more social openings and a majority that remains deeply conservative. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 23, 2018 photo, 27-year old driving instructor Mabkhoutah al-Mari stands next to a test drivers car at the Saudi Driving School inside Princess Nora University in Saudi Arabia. As Saudi Arabia prepares to lift a ban on women driving, Saudi women are being pushed to the forefront of a major transformation being spearheaded by the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It also places women in the crosshairs of a decades-old pull-and-tug between Saudis agitating for more social openings and a majority that remains deeply conservative. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
In this June 23, 2018 photo, 27-year old driving instructor Mabkhoutah al-Mari stands next to a test drivers car at the Saudi Driving School inside Princess Nora University in Saudi Arabia. As Saudi Arabia prepares to lift a ban on women driving, Saudi women are being pushed to the forefront of a major transformation being spearheaded by the country's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. It also places women in the crosshairs of a decades-old pull-and-tug between Saudis agitating for more social openings and a majority that remains deeply conservative. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)
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