Saudi Wins Praise, Ire As Guardianship Rules Eased


Saudi Wins Praise, Ire As Guardianship Rules Eased

Saudi Arabia’s easing of travel restrictions on women was hailed in the kingdom Friday as a historic leap for gender equality, but it addittionally drew anger from hardliners backing contentious male “guardianship” rules. The Muslim kingdom announced it was effectively allowing women over the age of 21 to obtain passports and travel abroad without securing the authorization of their “guardians” — hubby, dad or other male relatives. The reform, which addresses civil privileges such as allowing women to join up childbirth also, divorce or marriage, will not dismantle but diminishes the guardianship system that is definitely symbolic of repression against women.

Princess Reema bint Bandar, named earlier this year as Saudi Arabia’s first female ambassador to Washington, said on Twitter. The decision activated a influx of jubilation on social media, with the hashtag “No guardianship over women travel” getting grip. Many also published funny memes of women dashing to international airports lugging suitcases and being chased by male family members.

The changes come after high-profile attempts by women to escape alleged guardianship misuse despite a string of reforms by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, including a landmark decree last year that overturned the world’s only ban on women drivers. Some Saudi women said they had to hack to their guardian’s phone to improve the settings on the government app that will allow them to exit the united states.

Among the women who fled was 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, in January after she fled her Saudi family drew global attention whose live-tweeted asylum plea from a Bangkok hotel. Qunun eventually sought asylum in Canada, however the Saudi embassy in Bangkok faced global criticism for allegedly attempting to repatriate her to the kingdom against her will. The amendment, which restricts state influence in the private sphere, could provoke family clashes and result in an exodus of some women who have long waited to untether themselves from managing guardians, observers say. Kristin Diwan from the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington.

The reform also drew backlash from arch-conservatives, many of whom shared old video sermons on cultural press by Saudi clerics advocating guardianship laws and regulations. Some also denounced the change as “unIslamic” in a society that traditionally sees men as protectors of women. One Twitter user posted a portrait of women veiled head-to-toe wriggling underneath a barbed wire fence and rising skimpily clad on the other side. It had been unclear how quickly the changes would take main in a culture steeped in conservatism and a bureaucratic equipment recognized to be averse to improve.

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The reform, which grants or loans women better autonomy and flexibility, comes as the petrostate reels from low essential oil prices and seeks to boost occupations for females — presently facing high joblessness. Madawi al-Rasheed, a Saudi expert at the London School of Economics. But a lot of women activists who long campaigned to dismantle the guardianship system are currently on trial after being arrested last year in a sweeping crackdown on dissent or face a travel ban. That includes Loujain al-Hathloul, this week in a Saudi jail a prominent privileges activist who designated her 30th birthday. Hathloul was among several detainees who accused interrogators of torture and sexual harassment, a charge the national authorities denies. Lynn Maalouf, Amnesty International’s Middle East research director, demanding the discharge of the activists.

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