Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah, a member of the ruling family and a former Saudi education minister, said in an interview with a privately-owned TV channel this week that he had “no doubt” that women will drive.
“Let me tell you about our leadership’s view on women,” he said. “Never mind driving a car, which is coming no doubt… I want her to drive society.”
Prince Faisal’s interview is the latest sign that Saudi Arabia is preparing to lift the ban, which is based on an interpretation of religious edicts.
Another prominent Saudi prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, wrote in a blog in December that women should drive, noting that the ban infringes their rights and hurts the economy because it makes it harder for women to work.
Many Saudis used social media to comment on Faisal’s interview. The Arabic hashtag “Prince Faisal women driving is coming” was the top trending topic on Twitter in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.
Related: Saudi Arabia is giving women more freedom as it looks beyond oil
The country has embarked on an ambitious plan to transform its economy by 2030.
A key part of the reform effort — spearheaded by deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — is to increase women’s participation in the workforce. [/restrict]