Under Saudi Arabia's Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, women fall under the legal authority of a male relative, known as their "guardian", who can stop them travelling abroad, getting a job or opening a bank account. The proposal on women drivers follows other cautious moves by King Abdullah aimed at giving women more say, including the decision to appoint them to the council. He has also urged the government to improve job opportunities for women.
The ban has long been debated in private circles in Saudi Arabia but rarely in public by senior figures or officials. (Reuters 2013d).
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