On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice overturned a previous ban on cycling and motorbiking for women. The ruling stipulates that women must wear a full-body abaya, be accompanied by a male relative, and stay within certain areas. They are allowed to bike for recreational purposes only, not as a primary mode of transportation.
Source: Al Jazeera: http://stream.aljazeera.com/story/201304022007-0022651
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Why? And why now, one might reasonably ask. Might it have anything at all to do with that recent and very fine Saudi film about the little girl and her dream bike: Wadjda by Haifaa Al Mansour . You can see the trailer for the film with English sub-titles at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L88YCw0bCyk&playnext=1&list=PLC6A4F81174B8007B&feature=results_video.
To me it’s a no-brainer and, if sustainable development and social justice are important for us, a lesson for us all.