The face does not necessarily need to be covered, "much to the chagrin of some hardliners", says The Economist.
But this does not stop the religious police from harassing women for exposing what they consider to be too much flesh or wearing too much make-up.
In 2011, the "Women2Drive" campaign encouraged women to disregard the laws and post images and videos of themselves driving on social media to raise awareness of the issue in an attempt to force change. Saudi journalist Talal Alharbi says women should be allowed to drive - but only to take their children to school or a family member to hospital.
"Women should accept simple things", he writes for Arab News.
The women also had to be accompanied by a male guardian and cover their hair."The mere thought of a disrobed woman behind a dressing-room door is apparently too much for men to handle," says Vanity Fair writer Maureen Dowd in A Girl's Guide to Saudi Arabia.