09/06/2015 18:58 BST | Updated 09/06/2015 19:59 BST

Saudi Arabia Considers Law Allowing Women To Drive Without Man's Permission

Aziza Yousef drives a car on a highway in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Saturday March 29, 2014, as part of a campaign to defy Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

Saudi Arabia is considering allowing women to drive without a man's permission, but many in the country remain sceptical of the new reforms.

The country’s current laws insist that women below the age of 45 provide proof of permission of their male guardian before travelling. They must also be accompanied at all times.

The new regulations would mean that women no longer have to apply for permission prior to travel from various government ministries. The rules would be based on the reasons for travel, rather than age.

Director General of Passports Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Al Yahya addressed a press conference on Sunday at the launch of a campaign, “Your Passport, Your Identity”.

The controversial "modernising" reforms have been put in place in order to bring Saudi Arabia in line with "advanced countries", Arab News reported.

However some Saudis have criticised the impending regulations.

Despite the "modern" new rules, Saudi women will still be required to have chaperones at all times.

Hundreds took to Twitter to share their views under the hashtag "travel controls on Saudi women”.

According to Stepfeed, one user sarcastically suggested regulations might include “a police officer to travel with every woman who should have an electronic chip that keeps track of her location implanted in her feet".

The user continues that the chip should be connected to an electric detonator, which strikes her if she returns to the hotel after 6pm.

This is not the first time the issue of women's right to drive has been a source of controversy.

In January, a Saudi Arabian historian said on national TV that women who drive do not care if they are raped on the roadside, which is why the country is the only one in the world to ban them from driving.

saudi historian

Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon was discussing his solutions to women being unable to drive in Saudi Arabia

In the exchange, Dr Saleh Al-Saadoon said the following:

Dr Al-Saadoon: “If a woman drives from one city to another and her car breaks down, what will become of her?”

Host: “Well, women drive in America, in Europe and in the Arab world.”

Dr Al-Saadoon: “They don’t care if they are raped on the roadside but we do.”

Host: “Hold on, who told you that they don’t care about getting raped by the roadside?”

Dr Al-Saadoon: “It’s no big deal for them beyond the damage to their morale. In our case, however, the problem is of a social and religious nature.

Host: “What is rape if not a blow to the morale of the woman? That goes deeper than the social damage.”

Dr Al-Saadoon: “But in our case it affects the family…”

Host: “What, society and the family are more important than the woman’s morale?”

Dr Al-Saadoon's comments received incredulous looks from the rest of those in the studio.


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