Saudi Women 'absent' From Family Can't Travel Alone, Despite Reforms

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Women in Saudi Arabia are still facing challenges after Saudi has eased travel restrictions on women and the observers have said that there are still drawbacks.

Written By Sounak Mitra | Mumbai | Updated On:
Saudi women away from family can't travel alone, despite reforms

Women in Saudi Arabia are still facing challenges after the country eased travel restrictions on women. The observers have said that there are still drawbacks that allow male relatives to restrict their movements. The conservative kingdom allowed women over the age of 21 to obtain passports without seeking the permission of their guardians including fathers, husbands and other male relatives. The step was taken by de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to create a national image that has brought to an end a longstanding rule that prompted some extreme steps to flee the kingdom. Saudi Arabia has not done away with "taghayyub" which is a legal provision which means absent in Arabic and the same has been used for a long time to constrain women who leave home without permission. The guardians can still file a police complaint that their female relatives are absent which would directly result in their arrest and sometimes possible detention in women shelters according to the reports.

READ: US Defence Secretary Mark Esper Meets Saudi Arabia's King Salman

Shelter systems operating around the kingdom

The shelter systems operating around the kingdom are very active. The activists including Human Rights Watch (HRW) said that the shelters are run like detention facilities and it is not clear how many women they hold. Saudi fathers cannot stop the girls from getting passports but they can still declare them missing to local police who can track them down for the parents. 

READ: Saudi Arabia: Foreign Pilgrims Killed In Bus Accident Near Medina

The members of the Shura council recommended the ministry of justice to stop accepting taghayyub cases 

In the previous year, the members of the Shura council recommended the ministry of justice to stop accepting taghayyub cases as a step to slowly dismantle the guardianship system but the suggestions have not been paid any attention. The officials have said that a lot of women have applied for passports since the new reform was announced. The move was celebrated as a historic step for gender equality which resulted in triggering humorous online memes. 

READ: PM Modi Expresses Anguish Over Deaths In Bus Accident In Saudi Arabia

READ: Russian President Vladimir Putin Arrives In UAE, After Saudi Arabia

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