Prince Alwaleed bin Talal broke from the narrative of his country when he called for an urgent end to Saudi Arabia's ban on women drivers. On Tuesday, the Prince was extremely forthcoming when he bluntly tweeted "Stop the debate: Time for Women to Drive." Also included in the tweet are links in Arabic and English to his detailed statement outlining the reasons to lift the ban.
In his comprehensive outline entitled "It's High Time Saudi Women Started Driving Their Cars," Prince Alwaleed breaks down the social, financial, economic, political and religious reasons why women should be allowed to drive. Prince Alwaleed argues that lifting the ban will allow more women to enter the work force and improve Saudi Arabia's economy. He also thinks that the ban violates a woman's basic rights.
Preventing a woman from driving a car is today an issue of rights similar to the one that forbade her from receiving an education or having an independent identity. Such a ban on driving is fundamentally an infringement on a woman's rights, particularly as it continues to exist after she had won her right to an education and a salaried employment.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has no political position and therefore no direct pull when it comes to governing, but he is a prominent member of the royal family and a powerful businessman with interests in American bank giant Citigroup as well as Disney.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive.