Women in Saudi Arabia can finally work and study without a man’s permission

The king of Saudi Arabia has relaxed the controversial male guardian system allowing women to benefit from government services without the consent of a man.

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© Neil Moralee/Flickr

In Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most gender-segregated nations, every woman has a male guardian who makes the important decisions of her life. Saudi women cannot drive and must wear head-to-toe black garments in public.

As per a report by Reuters, according to Maha Akeel, a women’s rights campaigner and a director at Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation, after the new order issued by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud – women could in some circumstances, study and access hospital treatment, work  and represent themselves in court without consent of a male guardian.

In the 2016 Global Gender Gap, a World Economic Forum study which focuses on how women fare in economic and political participation, health and education, Saudi Arabia ranked 141 of 144 countries.

“Male guardianship is un-Islamic and humiliating for women,” said Akeel. “Some (men) take advantage of this male guardianship for their own benefit and abuse it.”

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