Saudi Arabian politicians and clerics are in a pickle: maintaining ban on women drivers decreases worldwide status, but permitting women to drive would be sinful. Solution: be the first to ban all human drivers. The Kingdom knows how to make massive, prestige-enhancing investments. Rather than copying expensive legacy institutions decades too late, spend whatever it takes to make KSA the worldwide leader in autonomous vehicles. For clerics: is not licensing statistical murder sinful, period? Banning all human drivers would be mandated by this new finding of religious science.
Saudi Arabia does not issue driver licenses to women, amounting to an effective legal ban on women drivers. Even if the ban were lifted tomorrow (as someone not enlightened, as clerics are, I support lifting it immediately), it would take some years for a large number of women to gain licenses, especially given social barriers which would be slower to lift. Instead, and as a transition to banning all licensing of statistical murderers, stop issuing licenses, period. When the last license expires, the ban on human drivers, applied equally to all genders, will be complete. KSA will be a technological powerhouse, and more pure and holy than ever.
I highly recommend the recent premium video Wadjda. It addresses women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, and much more, in a very understated way. I don’t think it is the intention of the premium videomakers to show that Saudi Arabia is backwards relative to “the west”; nor is that my intention in this post. It is a polity and society in transition, as are all. If you’re amped up about human rights, as you should be, I suspect it most effective to fix things closer to home (geographic or interest). If you can’t let how awful another jurisdiction is go, remember that yours is helping the oppressor by not allowing the oppressed to choose to live and work in your supposedly better, but global apartheid enforcing jurisdiction.