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Saudi Women No Longer Have to Wear Long, Loose Black Outfits a.k.a. Abaya

Saudi Women No Longer Have to Wear Long, Loose Black Outfits a.k.a. Abaya

Saudi women arrive to attend Janadriyah Culture Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 8, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Saudi Arabia has always been famous for being a rather conservative country. When it came to women’s basic rights, there was not much to be said –or done for that matter. Women were not allowed to drive, vote, along with a lengthy list of rights that are viewed ‘basic’ in other countries.

Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman announced on Monday that Saudi women are no longer obliged to wear the black Abaya –a long, loose outfit– as long as they dress modestly and decently. With his new decision, the ultra-conservative kingdom unhurriedly gives one more basic right to its females.

In late 2015, the situation of women in Saudi Arabia began to slightly improve when women were allowed to vote for the first time in municipal elections. Over the course of the last year, and while crown prince Bin Salman emerged in the scene who Saudi people describes as “progressive “, women have been prioritized, unlike what used to happen before.

In February 2017, Saudi Arabia launched female gyms. Only gyms that want to promote fitness are given licenses; competitive sports including Football and Tennis are not included.

What was revolutionary in Saudi Arabia, however, was the declaration of Bin Salman to allow Saudi women to drive as of Summer 2018. Until this very moment, Saudi Arabia is the only country that doesn’t allow its women to drive.

A list of decisions followed, including allowing Saudi women to open their own businesses without the consent of a husband or male relative.

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