Last year, the crown prince, regarded as a major power in the country, outlined an ambitious plan to reform the Saudi economy by 2030. Part of that goal includes increasing the number of women in the workforce.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia follows a strict form of Wahhabi Islam that places many restrictions on women and bans the mixing of sexes at public events. Women have been required to get the permission of a male guardian for almost every activity.
In September, King Salman issued the royal decree giving women permission to drive in Saudi Arabia.
In May 2017, King Salman ordered the government to list services women can seek on their own without permission from their fathers, husbands or other male guardians. He also ordered organizations to provide transportation for female employees.
There has also been an easing of restrictions on women's ability to work in the fields of education and law. In 2015, women were elected to municipal councils for the first time.