Saudis lift restrictions on rights for women
Saudi Arabia has allowed adult women to travel without permission and granted them more control over family matters, further eroding a heavily criticised male guardianship system.
A series of royal decrees stipulated a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen who applies for it and any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.
The amendments to regulations also grant women for the first time the right to register childbirth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children.
Riyadh has long endured international censure over the status of women, who rights groups say are treated as second-class citizens under rules requiring them to have the consent of a male guardian for important decisions throughout their lives.
The kingdom's ruler, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, has eased social restrictions, such as lifting a driving ban for women last year, as part of a push to open up the conservative Muslim nation and transform the economy.