Saudi women have been campaigning for the right to drive since the 1990s, with many women ending up in prison. "You cannot empower women to become anything in your country if she still needs a man's permission", said al-Sharif, 38, a divorced mother with a job, her own auto and a United Arab Emirates driving license.
Other measures included allowing women to attend soccer matches and the inclusion of physical education in girls' school curriculum.
Women in Saudi Arabia will continue to be subject to a guardianship system that forces them to seek permission from male relatives to do everything from opening a bank account to travelling.
Saudi Arabia Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
"The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licences for men and women alike", said the Saudi Press Agency.
Spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday that Merkel has repeatedly brought up the situation of women during visits to Saudi Arabia.
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Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has talked about mediation and said if he received such a request "he would try to fulfill that".
Uber and the Dubai-founded Careem could all be facing a challenge to the revenues that they generate in the kingdom -much of which comes as a result of women not being allowed to drive.
Al-Shammary's tweet celebrates two dates: 9/26/2011, when Saudi women were granted the right to vote, and the same date in 2017, when the driving decree was issued. Estimates suggest at least 8 lakh chauffeurs from South and South-east Asia work in Saudi Arabia due to the ban. A committee is now being appointed and will have thirty days to come up with recommendations as to how to effectively implement the law across the country. Aziza Youssef, a professor at King Saud University who is one of the most vocal Saudi Arabia's women's rights activists has been following on the matter closely.
The decree is slated to take effect from June 2018.
But in the framework of its ambitious plan of economic and social reforms on the horizon 2030, Riyadh seems to relax some of these restrictions, and tries carefully to promote forms of entertainment in spite of the opposition of the ultraconservateurs.
He tells reporters in Washington that it was the right time for Saudi Arabia to do the right thing.
King Salman bin Abdulaziz, 81, ordered the reform on Tuesday night, requesting that drivers' licences be issued to women who wanted them.