Women In Saudi Arabia Could Travel And Study Without Male Permission

King Salman has put the laws that require women to get male permission to travel and study under review, which could lead to more women's freedom in Saudi Arabia.

Women in Saudi Arabia, notorious for being incredibly gender-segregated, may soon gain the freedom to travel, study, and access government services like health care without a man's permission, Metro News reported.

King Salman has ordered that the laws that greatly restrict women's rights go under review, which could last up to three months, CNNMoney reported. The review is a part of King Salman's overhaul of Saudi Arabia's economy, called Vision 2030, and includes changing the country's reliance on oil.

Currently, women must live with a male guardian and have his permission if they wish to get married, complain to the police, or travel. The World Economics Forum ranked the country 130 out of 142 countries on gender equality, according to The Washington Post.

A couple at Masjid al-Haram in Saudi Arabia.

"It will allow for greater mobility inside and outside the country, which allows for more efficient economic activity and happiness," John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Riyadh, told CNNMoney.

Vision 2030 also wants to put more women in finance and technology industries. 

There's other evidence that Saudi Arabia is entering a transitional phase and finally listening to its women's rights advocates. Last year, the religious police, who patrol for Islamic law, lost their power to arrest people — only the state police can do that now.

At a business conference in the capital of Riyadh in early May, men and women sat next to each other, which isn't typically allowed in most public places.

In some parts of the country, women are even beginning to show their hair.

But this is just one small step toward emancipation and equal rights. The rule doesn't address the ban on women's ability to drive, which is an illustration of how strong traditional religious values are there. 

View Comments

Recommended For You