Saudi Woman Driving
Image: © Al Arabiya English

Saudi women drivers will add $90 billion to the economy, estimates say

To the shops! To the job centre! To the airport!

As of Saturday, Saudi women are officially allowed to drive. It's an exciting moment for human rights – but also for the economy.

What it means: Driving is pretty liberating, if you think about it. Being able to drive in Saudi Arabia means you can go out whenever you want – shopping, travelling, to a restaurant – and crucially, you can work in any of the countless jobs that involve driving, from cab driver to delivery person.

Only 20 per cent of women in Saudi Arabia are earning or managing money at the moment, compared to 42 per cent in the region as a whole.

Economists estimate that this change will add about $90 billion worth of activity to Saudi Arabia's economy, the equivalent of selling off 5% of their (huge) oil reserves. That does include the value of all the extra gas these women's cars will guzzle as they drive around to their heart's content.

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