Saudi Arabian women awoke to news of a royal decree permitting them to drive starting next year - and some were already behind the wheel on Wednesday, even though licences will not be issued for nine months. Scarlett Cvitanovich reports.
Soon it will be women learning to drive these cars after Saudi Arabia's King Salman issued a royal decree which promises to change the lifestyle of millions. From next year women will be allowed to drive. Female rights activists have campaigned for more than 25 years, defiantly taking to the road, petitioning the king and posting video of themselves behind the wheel. Until now, women who drove in the Gulf kingdom risked being arrested and fined. The end of the religiously-inspired ban should encourage more women into the workforce and the move is expected to save families who hire male chauffeurs billions of dollars. Industries from insurance to car sales are all expected to see a boost in profit and reassure investors the kingdom's push to diversify its economy beyond oil is on track. But the battle for equality isn't over yet, with calls for male guardianship, where women need permission from a male relative before travelling overseas, getting married, or seeking medical care, to be abolished altogether. Women are being assured they won't need permission from a legal guardian to drive, with the new rules to be implemented by June next year.