Daniah al-Ghalbi, a newly-licensed Saudi woman driver, sits in her car during a test-drive in the Red Sea resort of Jeddah on Saturday. Amer Hilabi | AFP | Getty Images
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As Saudi women take the wheel beginning June 25, UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has welcomed the lifting on Sunday of the driving ban for women in Saudi Arabia.

Guterres expressed the hopes that ending the prohibition would generate more new opportunities for women in the Kingdom.

A royal decree was issued in September 2017, announcing that the longstanding ban would end in June 2018.

At that time, the Secretary-General and other senior UN officials said they saw the move as an important first step that could lead to increased participation of women in the job market, among other areas of public life.

According to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Saudi Arabia ended the prohibition on women driving at midnight on June 24.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Guterres paid tribute to the women of Saudi Arabia for their efforts in achieving this important legal milestone.

The UN chief said the legal efforts “should contribute to women’s economic, social mobility and the development of the country’’.

Guterres says he looks forward to witnessing Saudi Arabia’s continuing journey toward substantive equality for women and girls.

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