Saudi women take to the roads after ban lifts, without the feminist pioneers who drove reforms

“Men have made it sound like this is so complicated,” laughed Abla Hasan al-Sabban as she jerked the wheel of the car simulator. ”But it’s really not.”

The 44-year-old cardiovascular technician is getting some practice in the parking lot of the Red Sea Mall in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah before the big day.

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For as long as most in the kingdom can remember, the roads have been an exclusively male domain.

But from Sunday that changes, as a decades-long ban on women driving is lifted and the country becomes the last on earth to grant them the basic right.

The restriction had left women, even doctors like Mrs Sabban, entirely dependent on men – whether it be their husband, father, son or a taxi…

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