In Saudi Arabia discrimination against women is “a significant problem,” according to the U.S. State Department—and that may be putting it diplomatically. Women cannot drive. They receive smaller inheritances than men. They must wear full-body covering when in public. And they are required to sit in separate areas in restaurants, universities and other public places. But on Monday, local newspapers announced a small breakthrough for women. They are now able to ride bikes…with some exceptions.
Religious police will now permit women to ride motorbikes and bicycles in recreational areas and parks while accompanied by a male relative. The women must be dressed in the full body covering known as an abaya and are advised to avoid places where young men gather, "to avoid harassment." The newspaper did not say what inspired the change in the rules.
Women are still banned from these activates in public places, and women can use bikes “only for entertainment”—not for transportation.