Women in Saudi Arabia definitely have an important reason to celebrate International Women’s Day (March 8). The country’s women are signing up for their first ever driving lesson as they prepare to legally obtain a driver’s license in June, Reuters reports.
According to CBS News, a royal decree was ordained by King Salman stating that women will be allowed to drive in 2018. It’s a major feat for women’s rights in the country considering they’re still subjected to being held under the guardianship of men; they need a man’s permission to travel, obtain a passport or get married.
“When I heard about it, I was just shocked. I was so happy. I was so excited,” a driving student named Fatmah Almardof told Reuters. The driving lessons took place at the women-only Effat University. Reportedly, a slew of young women at the campus flooded the Ford-sponsored driving course.
“I felt out of place. I’ve never sat on that side of the car. Usually, I always sit in the back or on the right side, but it felt good. You feel, like, in control,” Sara Ghouth, an 18-year-old freshman told CBS. “I want to drive a car. I want to be independent.”
Not only will this change create a deeper push for women’s rights, but it can also greatly impact the country’s economy. With a new skill under their belt, Saudi women will be more independent, and qualified for more jobs.