Saudi women kick off historic walking parade

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Riyadh, March 8 (IANS) Over 2,500 Saudi women went on a walking parade on Thursday in the coastal city of Jeddah on the occasion of the International Women’s Day, the first massive public appearance of Saudi women in the conservative Islamic society.

The parade, organised by Jeddah government, aims to promote the ideas of healthy lifestyle and environmental protection, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a bid to return his country to a “moderate Islam,” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman has taken measures to improve women’s rights of all aspects in the society.

The country announced its plan to allow women to drive from June this year and ride-hailing apps are getting prepared to hire female drivers.

“I’m excited about being able to drive in a few months. Women can take the wheel just like men,” said college student Aimena, who is taking driving lessons in Princess Nura University.

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Furthermore, Saudi women were given permission in January to attend football matches and to start their own businesses without the consents of their male relatives.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor’s office said this month it would also begin recruiting women investigators for the first time.

The kingdom has also opened 140 positions for women at airports and border crossings, a historic move that the government said drew 107,000 female applicants.

–IANS

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