Friday 19 July 2019

Women 'may be allowed to travel without needing man's consent'

Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Photo: Reuters
Crown prince Mohammad bin Salman. Photo: Reuters

Josie Ensor

Saudi Arabia is expected to relax strict male guardianship laws to allow women to travel without permission - the kingdom's biggest concession yet to women's rights.

The move, reported in 'The Wall Street Journal', would end guardianship laws that dictate women can only leave the country with the consent of a designated male relative. It was reported the reform could come into force later this year.

The report follows several high-profile cases of Saudi women requesting asylum abroad having fled their families.

The issue of male guardianship is extremely sensitive in Saudi Arabia, where traditional, tribal families view what they consider to be the protection of women as a man's duty. There is even a government app that helps alert male guardians if female relatives try to check in at any of the kingdom's airports.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had promised a tranche of liberal reforms that began in 2017 when the royal court announced women were to be allowed to drive unaccompanied.

Irish Independent

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