Saudi Royal Family relax guardianship laws allowing female travel

Sunday 04th Aug 2019

The Saudi Royal Family have implemented a major policy shift allowing women in Saudi Arabia to both hold passports and travel abroad without the consent of a male, loosening the Kingdom’s strict guardianship laws over women.

This was approved by the Saudi Cabinet on Thursday, and will allow all Saudi women to apply for passports and allow women aged 21 and above to travel independently. Previously women required approval from a male guardian in order to obtain a passport, a policy which some activists felt resulted in women being oppressed. The system worked by women being given a page in their male relative’s passports, making it impossible for them to travel without a male.

The Ministry of Information described the reform as part of the Kingdom’s efforts to “promote women’s rights and empowerment,” making them “equal to men”.

This is the latest change in the Kingdom which has made several updates including allowing women drive two years ago, and to vote and to be elected last year, resulting in 17 women being elected.

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