Saudi women will be allowed to drive in the kingdom in 2018

Ian Allen     Head coach Theodore Whitmore during a Reggae Boyz training session earlier this year. 

          Gladstone Taylor     Ricketts

The announcement came in the form of a royal decree that was released on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia has received worldwide criticism for being the only country in the world that bans women from driving, despite some improvement on women's rights in recent years such as greater participation in the workforce. The decision of Saudi Arabia is a great and well-calculated step toward modernity. Poor governance has contributed to Saudi Arabia's woeful record in road safety, analysts say, and the government is aiming to reduce the number of deaths by a quarter as part of its ambitious Vision 2030 reform programme.

Lifting Saudi Arabia's ban on women drivers will cut the number of vehicle crashes, Interior Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Nayef has said.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said: "It is a testimony to the bravery of women activists who have been campaigning for years that..." Sharif, who now lives in Australia, was imprisoned in Saudi Arabia in 2011 after sharing a video on YouTube featuring her driving.

Women who need to get around already have cars driven by chauffeurs.

Under the country's guardianship system, a male family member - normally the father, husband or brother - must grant permission for a woman's study, travel and other activities.

Female executives have been named to important positions in the Saudi stock exchange, the right to work without the permission of a male guardian and the tens of thousands of women now working in the retail sector are also examples of natural shifts in Saudi society. "Guardianship" laws still require a male to approve many basic actions by a woman, from marrying to traveling overseas, opening a bank account or even undergoing some forms of elective surgery.

Unlike previous rulers, he has shown a willingness to tackle entrenched Saudi taboos, and is seen as catering to the aspirations of youth with an array of entertainment options and promoting more women in the workforce.

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The Saudi government has said Vision 2030, a vast plan of economic and social reforms, will raise women's share of the labour market to 30 per cent from 22 per cent now.

The progressive changes that happened in the KSA since King Salman took power on January 22, 2015, are probably more significant than the previous changes in the kingdom toward the same cause over the last several decades.

"The reign of puritanical Islam is over".

Here are twelve things that women still can't do, but men can, in the country.

"The Saudi people and especially the young people are not ready for this phenomenon and it will bring a lot of misfortune", one tweeted.

They must limit the time spent with men who they are not related to in public, at places such as banks and universities.

The announcement follows a dazzling gender-mixed celebration of Saudi National Day at the weekend, the first of its kind, which aimed to spotlight reforms.

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