In what would allow adult Saudi Women to travel freely without requiring the consent of a male guardian, Riyadh, on August 20, put an end to travel restrictions that it had imposed on women. Often criticized for treating women as second class citizens, Riyadh’s decision to lift travel restriction is a pivotal step in the world that seeks equality.
“The passports and civil status departments and their branches in all regions of the kingdom have started to implement the amendments stipulated in the royal decree,” the SPA report said, citing an interior ministry source.
The decision to ease travel restrictions was approved by royal decrees, reported state news agency SPA. Interestingly, this is not the first time Saudi has mulled reconsidering the un-needed restrictions it has imposed on women for decades. To recall, authorities last year overturned the world’s only ban on women driving.
The new changes would mean that a Saudi passport can now be issued to any passenger that is above 21 years of age. Women supposedly will now not be asked for a “permission letter” attested by a male guardian, at the airport, to initiate a voyage beyond Saudi.
Moreover, in the changes unveiled earlier this year, women for the first time were granted the right to register childbirth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors.
While some termed the new developments as “unIslamic” many welcomed the decision. Soon after the restrictions on travel were lifted, aviation authorities surveyed more than 1,000 women in the country flying from Saudi Arabia without their guardian’s permission.