Moreover, that same poll found that more than 8 in 10 Saudi women (82%) and three-quarters of Saudi men (75%) agreed that women should be allowed to hold any job for which they are qualified outside the home.
At least according to some (Library of Congress) customs of the Arabian peninsula also play a part in women's place in Saudi society.
The peninsula is the ancestral home of patriarchal, nomadic tribes, in which separation of women and men, and namus (honour) are considered central.
The 1979 Iranian Revolution and subsequent Grand Mosque Seizure in Saudi Arabia caused the government to implement stricter enforcement of sharia.
Saudi women who were adults before 1979 recall driving, inviting non-mahram (unrelated) men into their homes (with the door open), and being in public without an abaya (full-body covering) or niqab (veil).
In Saudi culture, the Sharia is interpreted according to a strict Sunni form known as the way of the Salaf (righteous predecessors) or Wahhabism.
The law is mostly unwritten, leaving judges with significant discretionary power which they usually exercise in favor of tribal traditions.
Many Saudis do not see Islam as the main impediment to women's rights.
According to one female journalist; “If the Quran does not address the subject, then the clerics will err on the side of caution and make it haram (forbidden).
Female driving is a matter of fun and amusement, let us be reasonable and thank God so much for the welfare we live in.") insist that loosening the ban on women driving and working with men is part of an onslaught of Westernized ideas to weaken Islam and that Saudi Arabia is uniquely in need of conservative values because it is the center of Islam.