Nearly 8 in 10 Saudis back decree allowing women to drive

The royal decree received less support among men than women, according to a new survey

Nearly eight in 10 Saudis agree with the royal decree to allow women to drive from June next year, according to a new survey.

The poll of 500 adults, conducted by YouGov on behalf of Arab News, found that 77 per cent of adults agree with the decision to allow women to drive.

The decision was backed by 82 per cent of women and 70 per cent of men, with freedom of movement for women and the belief that driving is a basic human right cited as the top reasons for agreeing with the change in law.

Among those who disagreed, 54 per cent said it was not safe for women to drive and 36 per cent said it was against local culture and traditions.

Read: Saudi women to be allowed to drive from age 18

In terms of the impact of the decision, 40 per cent of respondents said it would help the economy and 35 per cent said it would allow more women to work.

Two thirds of women said the decision would transform their lives and half said it would allow them to work more easily.

“Lifting the driving ban is the latest step in a raft of reforms underway in the Kingdom, both social and economic. But this change will, arguably, have the biggest positive impact on the day-to-day lives of citizens,” said Arab News editor in chief Faisal J. Abbas.

“One of the most revealing findings of the Arab News/YouGov survey was that most women who plan to get behind the wheel will do so in order to get to work.

The survey also indicated a significant boost to the automotive market on the horizon, with 85 per cent of Saudi women who plan to drive saying they will buy a car.

Read: Women drivers seen reviving Saudi car market

Budget cars worth SAR40,000 ($10,666) or less were favoured by 44 per cent of respondents.

While in terms of car type, medium-sized sedans were the most favoured by women and Toyota, BMW and Jeep the top brands.

The survey followed the release of a poll conducted by Kantar TNS indicating 82 per cent of women in the kingdom plan to drive.

In addition, 92 per cent of women said they would reduce their reliance on drivers and taxis following the lifting of the ban next year.

Read: Study reveals 82% of Saudi women plan to drive