Citizens and residents living in Saudi Arabia expressed overwhelming support and joy over the King Salman’s decree to allow women to drive.
The royal order, which was issued on Tuesday, is expected to take effect in June 2018. Government ministries and departments have been given 30 days to develop policies and procedures that would pave the way for women to become licensed drivers.
“Just announced on Saudi national news that women will be able to drive!” Tasneem Al Sultan, a Saudi-American photographer whose work has been featured by Time’s Light Box and the New York Times’ Lens blog, said on Instagram in a photo displaying the headline, “Saudi Arabia: King Salman orders driving licenses for women.”
“The process will take place in the coming 10 months. Mabrook all you Saudi sisters! And to my brother and father, and all those Uber drivers, the pain is over...soon!”
A meme of a Saudi woman dressed in an abaya, accessorized with red-framed sunglasses and red lipstick, sitting behind the wheel of an automobile with her left hand on the steering wheel and her right hand formed in the peace sign held up in the air over the Saudi Arabia flag was also making the rounds along with words of support.
Vogue Arabia shared another popular meme quickly spreading on social media to show support for Saudi women. The image is a take on the iconic American “We Can Do It!” work-incentive poster produced by J Howard Miller. It shows a woman covered by a black abaya and niqab flexing her right arm as she boldly looks at the camera. The words “We Can Do It! We Can Drive” appear above.
“Great news from the Kingdom: It was finally announced that Saudi women will be able to drive,” Vogue Arabia said along with the post on Instagram.
The image of a Barbie doll, still in her hot pink packaging, dressed in a black abaya and niqab and wearing white automobile door frames as wings were also making the rounds. The image was first posted by Instagram user @kz_art. The artist’s bio says, “my work is a reflection of the change we wish to see in our society.”
The Jeddah-based designer Nasiba Hafiz posted the Amal Barbie image on Instagram along with the words: “Meet Amal. Amal is an art work by @kz_art she is an example of proof of positive thinking and the power of manifestation! Amal is hope in Arabic and she had wings made out of car doors. Amal NOW is allowed to drive BABYYYYY!!! Congrats to all the powerful and amazing Saudi women out there who really wanted and dreamt of this so long! I know already which car I’m getting! Do YOU???? Need the license first though.”