At the stroke of midnight on June 24th, women in Saudi Arabia took to the streets to drive for the very first time after a decades-long ban on female drivers that had previously relegated them to the backseat.
— MSN Arabia🇸🇦🇪🇬🇲🇦🇹🇳 (@MSNArabia) June 23, 2018
The lifting of the ban was announced last September, and the reaction then was mixed: there was joy and pride in the progressive-seeming nature of the Kingdom’s new vision, but also skepticism that this would bring real, lasting change to a conservative country still deeply segregated by gender.
The reaction in Jeddah on this historical day was mixed, too: women with means flocked to the streets to celebrate their newfound freedom as Saudi traffic police handed out chocolate and flowers.
— منال (@M_B_82s) June 24, 2018
Online, Saudi women around the country posted videos of themselves behind the wheel, decorated with custom Snapchat filters created to commemorate the occasion. Artists tweeted handmade illustrations of women driving, and images of a Saudi license plate Photoshopped to say “2018 GRL.”
“On a day like this let’s not forget the majority of unlucky women with a guardian who is an obstacle between them and their rights,” one Saudi woman wrote on Twitter. “The Saudi women who are driving today are the privileged ones. And until all women are equal, this joy won’t be complete.”
— سلوة (@Salwa_joh) June 24, 2018