Saudi Arabia: Women Over 21 Years No Longer Require Male Consent To Travel
Ending a decades-old controversial policy, Saudi Arabia has allowed women above 21 to travel without male permission and granted them more control over family matters, according to a series of royal decrees published by the official gazette on Friday.
As per the order, any adult woman, above the age of 21, will get rights to register childbirths, marriages and divorces. They will now be eligible to become guardian to minor children and will be issued family documents.
Saudi Women Hail The Decision
For long, human rights activists have claimed that women are treated as second-class citizens in their own country under rules that require them to get male consent for important decisions, throughout their life.
The new rules were widely celebrated by Saudi women on Twitter. Several people took to Twitter to praise the 33-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is believed to be the force behind the changes.
Calling it the beginning of a new era, prominent Saudi influencer Muna Abu Sulayman, in a tweet, said, “A generation growing up completely free and equal to their brothers,” she said.
Last year the de facto ruler Mohammed Salman, as part of a move to open up the conservative Muslim kingdom and transform the economy, had eased social restrictions and lifted driving ban for women.
In 2016, the Crown Prince announced to increase women’s participation in the workforce to 30% from 22%. In the 2018 Global Gender Gap Study, by World Economic Forum, Saudi Arabia ranked 141 of 149 countries on economic and political participation, health and education.
There are several other rules that still requires a woman to seek male consent on a multitude of matters – such as exiting a prison, leaving a domestic abuse shelter or marrying. Women still do not have the authority to give permission to their children, for marriage, or pass on their citizenship to the children.