“It is easy to comment on other people’s societies and think that your own society is superior, but the Western world must remember that each country is specific and unique,” she also added. “We have strengths and weaknesses but, invariably, it’s our culture, and it’s better to try to understand it than to judge it.”

To Western eyes, the steps Saudi Arabia is making towards granting women’s rights are not particularly monumental, as author Robin Wright pointed out in the New Yorker (paywall). Women may still have to get permission from a male “guardian”—such as a father, husband, brother, or even son, to drive—and there are likely to still be additional driving rules they have to follow. There’s no indication either that the country’s conservative clerics will truly embrace these changes.

Beyond such caveats, women also “still can’t get passports or travel outside the country without the permission of their primary male guardian,” Wright wrote. “A Saudi female can also not get a foreign education with government support unless she is accompanied by a male guardian.”

The right to drive may be a small change for women in the kingdom, but it’s undoubtedly a welcome one. And it already looks to be helping Saudi Arabia’s global image—at least on the pages of Vogue.

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