The authorities of Saudi Arabia have announced its decision to permit women and grown up girls to travel without the approval of their guardian.
This decision was recently enacted following the Saudi Government’s Vision 2030 which seeks the inclusion of women’s participation in the development of Saudi Arabia.
The removal of male guardian approval is not the only milestone achieved by the middle east country who last year began permitting women to drive, after a decades-old driving ban was lifted. Prior to that time, Saudi Arabia was the only country left in the world that disapproves women from driving and families had to hire private chauffeurs for female relatives.
Under the new reforms, Saudi women under the age of 21 can get approval from their mother, as opposed to another male relative, in cases where the father is deceased. They are also allowed to be able to apply for a passport by themselves upon turning 21.
The changes, detailed on the website of Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports on Monday, spell out how a major policy change earlier this month – which allowed women over 21 to leave the country without a male relative’s permission from the end of August – will work in practice.
The ones who are under 21 would not be needing any permission in case they are married or travelling for study purposes on a government scholarship programme or going overseas for some official reasons.
They also granted 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 who are minors.
Riyadh has lengthy confronted worldwide criticism over the standing of Saudi girls. They can now also be the legal guardian of their children, a position hitherto reserved for men.
The reform comes after high-profile attempts by women to escape alleged guardianship abuse despite a string of reforms by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including a landmark decree past year that overturned the world’s only ban on women drivers.
While the new amendments may erode part of the guardianship system, women still require permission for numerous aspects of life – including enrolling in school, receiving treatment at a hospital, or being admitted to a shelter for abuse victims.