Saudis expect economic boom after female driving ban is lifted

According to a new Arab News and YouGov survey, more than 40% of respondents think lifting the driving ban on women will have the greatest impact on women.

Forty-two percent of the 500 respondents said that the main impact of lifting the ban is that women will now be able to look for employment, which will benefit the Saudi economy.

A third of respondents said the most important impact of lifting the ban is that it will increase household income as women will now be able to work and families will not have to hire drivers.

“Lifting the driving ban is the latest step in a raft of reforms underway in the Kingdom, both social and economic. But this change will, arguably, have the biggest positive impact on the day-to-day lives of citizens,” said Arab News Editor in Chief Faisal J Abbas. “One of the most revealing findings of the Arab News/YouGov survey was that most women who plan to get behind the wheel will do so in order to get to work.”

“That will see more of the kingdom’s highly educated women finding fulfilling employment, boosting household incomes, and helping to meet Saudi Arabia’s ambitious economic aim”, he added.

Bloomberg Intelligence’s September research suggested that this new order has the potential to add $90 billion to Saudi’s economic output by 2030.

There are currently approximately 20 percent of Saudi women who are economically active. The Bloomberg research found that by adding one percentage point of women to the workforce, 70,000 women would be added to the workforce every year. Therefore, it would lift potential GDP growth by as much as 0.9 percentage points per year.

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