08/02/2019, 11.17
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
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Saudi women will be able to travel without male permits

A royal decree published today loosens the meshes of the protection of the fair sex. Now anyone over the age of 21 can apply for a passport without prior authorization. The law also allows women to register the birth of their children, the marriage certificate or divorce. Satisfaction among activists.

 

 

Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) - In Saudi Arabia, women - long considered second-class citizens - will be able to travel abroad independently, without having to request their guardian's permission in advance. This is established by a royal decree published this morning, according to which anyone over 21 years of age can apply for a passport without the obligation of a prior authorization from the male.

Riyadh seems to be making a substantial forward step toward gender equality, in a country where the woman is (still) repressed in many areas: the right to drive has come only recently after bitter battles and ranked 141rd out of 149 nations in the world in the Global Gender Gap 2018. The royal decree also allows women to register the birth of their children, the marriage certificate or divorce.

Finally, the new law concerns regulations concerning work, which further widen women's employment opportunities and enhances their capacities. All citizens, the decree warns, have the right to work without having to suffer discrimination based on gender, disability or age.

Thousands of women celebrated the royal decree on the main social networks. Muna Abu Sulayman, one of the country's most important influencers and a guest on many talk shows, points out that "one generation is growing completely free" and "equal" to their male brothers on the subject of freedom of movement.

For decades in Saudi Arabia, women have been repressed for their activism and the much vaunted "reforms" of the crown prince Mohammad bin Salman (Mbs), including the end of the driving ban, have earned little. The protection of men is considered as a form of gender apartheid, which binds women to their "guardian" and is applied on social networks and in real life.

In recent months the discovery of a huge online database, cultivated for years by the Saudi authorities has raised controversy and protests. It is called "Absher" and recently added a phone app to prevent women from escaping. A check that has been strengthened over the past year, following cases of the flight of young Saudi women who conquered the limelight of international news such as Rahaf Mohammed received in Canada or the two sisters, who fled the family after renouncing the Islamic faith. Now their example is becoming a model to follow.

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