CNN News 女性禁驾令将废除 沙特女性明年有望自己驾车 20171005
Our last show of the week begins with a significant cultural change in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom and absolute monarchy has announced that women will be allowed to drive. Saudi Arabia is the last country on earth where this is illegal.
Experts say it's one of the most religiously conservative Islamic countries and that this issue has divided the nation for years. But they also called this a signal that the nation's 81-year-old king and 32-year-old crown prince are determined to reform society. Their decision is partly economic.
The Saudi economy is heavily dependent on oil and oil prices have dropped in recent years, decreasing government revenue. Allowing women to drive could increase their numbers in the workforce which could in turn boost the economy.
Not everyone agrees with the change. Saudi critics have called allowing women to drive inappropriate and threatening to traditional Saudi families.
But for those celebrating the change which takes effect next summer, it's been a long time coming.
BECKY ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Saudi Arabia's young, ambitious crown prince is making history in the kingdom, letting women hit the roads here, meaning simple things like this allowed everywhere else in the world will be allowed here too.
Although that's come down from the palaces, it's really come up from the streets. Here, right after the ban, the first protest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love driving. I wish I can drive in the country, in our country.
ANDERSON: From then, until now, time and again, year after year, women, thousands of them, taking on the often punishing fight to get Saudi back to the future, to where it was in 1989, the year before the ban came in, alongside the countless protests and just as many arrests.
The battle is being fought on social media, wildly popular in the kingdom and that's where the celebrations are. Like this by prominent activist Manal al-Sharif, jailed for driving for nine days back in 2011, forced into exile. Now, sharing a photo of herself behind the wheel, smiling, happy, proud. The caption: the rain begins with a single drop.
There's a real arc of history here, in a country celebrating his 87th birthday, this in a kingdom where just on Saturday, for the first time ever, women were allowed into a sports stadium.
Saudi women are often seen as under the thumb, hidden away. But now, they are slowly emerging as soon to be drivers and much needed workers. As women start to turn the wheel, so the country is starting to steer in a new direction.