Women of Saudi Arabia no longer require permission from a male guardian to travel, in accordance to new laws published on Friday. This is a step toward dismantling controls that have made women second-class citizens in their own country.
Access to family documents may ease challenges women have faced in obtaining a national identity card and enrolling their children in school.
Saudi Arabia issues first driving licences to women, though there remain rules requiring a male’s consent for a woman to leave prison, exit a domestic abuse shelter or marry.
Unlike men, Saudi women still cannot pass on citizenship to their children and cannot provide consent for their children to marry.
Under the kingdom’s guardianship system, women essentially rely on the “goodwill” of their male relations to determine the course of their lives.
Friday’s new laws come at a time of growing international criticisms of Saudi women’s status. In recent months, several young women have fled the country and made public pleas for help in seeking asylum from their family and the government.
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