Saudi Royal Family to relax guardianship laws over women

Friday 12th Jul 2019

The Saudi Royals are planning to relax the Kingdom’s male guardianship laws in order to allow women to leave the country without permission from a male relative, usually their father or husband. Travel restrictions in the Kingdom will be relaxed later this year, which will both include women over the age of 18 and men under the age of 21, whom currently also require consent of a designated male family member.

The move is the latest in a series of reforms that have seen the Saudi Royals bring the KSA more in line with the west, including allowing women to drive – although this apparently did see a spike in road traffic accidents.

The Kingdom’s guardianship laws have been under review after a series of high profile media cases of Saudi women fleeing the country to seek asylum. In January, 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Mutlaq al-Qunun made headlines after escaping alleged abuse at the hands of her family and barricading herself in a hotel room in Thailand. She was eventually given refugee status in Canada.

The impetus to reform the travel rules has come from the top Saudi Royal Family, Mohammed bin Salman is eager to reform some of the nations out of date laws and is seeking to attract investment and improve the nations image on the international stage.

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