Saudi Arab

14,000 Saudi Women Sign Petition to Remove Male Guardianship Laws

A Saudi woman has delivered a petition to the government calling for an end to the Gulf kingdom’s male guardianship system. The petition has been signed by more than 14,000 Saudi women.

A petition signed by 14,000 Saudi women aims to remove the severe restrictions the kingdom places on women.

This includes women needing to obtain permission from a male guardian to travel abroad, marry and even be released from prison. They can also be required to provide approval to work and or access health care, according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).

In July, a hashtag which translated as “Saudi women want to abolish the guardianship system” went viral in the kingdom and women shared comments, pictures, videos and artwork with the hashtag “I am my own guardian”.

The petition was delivered by a leading women’s rights advocate, Aziza al-Yousef. “The message is: women have to be full citizens, like men,” the retired professor of computer science at Riyadh’s King Saud University was quoted as saying by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). “I am very hopeful.”

The report’s author and primary researcher, Kristine Beckerle told IBTimes UK: “For 80 days, Saudi women have lead an incredible, unprecedented campaign, using petitions, bracelets, artwork, tweets to send a very clear message: Male guardianship must end. It’s long-past time the government listened to its female citizens and abolish what remains the most significant impediment to their rights in Saudi Arabia today”
“Make no mistake, women in Saudi Arabia are not given all the rights they are entitled to in Islam and the male guardianship rules are in dire need of reform,” Sabria Jawhar writes in Arab News.

“An abusive, rigid, control-freak of a father is going to be an abusive, rigid, control-freak of a guardian. A father that genuinely loves his daughter and wants the best the world has to offer her will not stand in her way and will make male guardianship for her, not against her.”

Despite being a US-ally, women cannot even drive cars or other mundane tasks. Their treatment receives no condemnation in the wider international community, Guardian reported.


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