April 2013, the al-Yawmn newspaper in Saudi Arabia cited an unknown source from the kingdom’s religious police: permission was given for women to ride bikes.
The 2013 bicycling freedom is restricted to certain areas, with a male present, and NOT for transportational purposes. Don’t ride on the streets! The kingdom’s religious police will observe that women only ride in parks and recreational areas. They must be accompanied by a male relative and dressed in the full Islamic head-to-toe abaya.
Now, women can steer their way around objects and people. This gainful experience will prepare them for n exciting event that hopefully will occur in 2015.
In two years time, the King of Saudi Arabia has revealed that women will probably be allowed to drive a car. What a year 2015 will be for Saudi women! They will be able to drive a car to a place where they will cast their vote for the first time!
Those with ambition may be able to run in municipal elections.
In fairness to King Abdullah, he recently (2013) appointed 30 women to the country’s consultative Shura Council, which is the closest thing to a parliament that was previously all-male.
These last few years have seen a number of ‘firsts’ in Saudi Arabia. I blogged Islamic women at the London Olympics back when the sports were in full force. A judo competitor, a horse rider and a runner competed. The rider wore the rider’s hat and the other who wore a habib (scarf).