Saudi Arabia is now implementing some changes previously announced in the citizens’ civil rights, such as allowing adult women to travel abroad without permission from her “guardian” and to have more authority in family matters, the Saudi press agency (SPA) reported on Tuesday.
Under the Saudi law, all females must have a male guardian, typically a father, brother, husband or uncle, and all females need the permission of their guardians for marriage, divorce, travel, work, opening a bank account, and elective surgeries. The guardian is the main pillar in Saudi women’s lives which gives men unlimited authority over the family to the extent to depriving women from basic rights.
However, Saudi women did not surrender to this unfairness and opposed this situation, leading the government to make an amendment to travel and passport issuances in 2017.
Thus, if a Saudi woman’s guardian refuses her request to travel or obtain a passport, she can turn to a judge for urgent matters to give her the right without the guardian’s consent, unless this guardian has a “convincing reason” for prevention.
Notably, Saudi women have suffered a lot and have gone a long way to gain their rights. But the year 2017 witnessed radical changes in terms of women’s rights through 2018 and 2019, starting with allowing women to drive, giving them the freedom not to wear abayas, and allowing them to apply for criminal investigator posts in the Saudi Public Prosecution.
Earlier this month, the state started applying changes in travel permits, and the website of Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports announced allowing women over 21 to leave the country without the guardian’s approval starting from 31 August.
They also granted women for the first time the right to register a child’s birth, marriage, divorce, and other family documents, and to act as a guardian to their children who are minors.
“More than 1,000 women in the country’s Eastern Province had left Saudi Arabia on Tuesday without their guardian’s permission,” Saudi newspaper reported, which means that the new rules have come into effect.