Saudi Women No Longer Need Men’s Permission To Seek A Job, Education Or Healthcare

This is extraordinary news, considering Saudi Arabia remains to be one of the most gender-segregated countries in the world.

Credit: ABCNews

Progressive developments are taking place in Saudi Arabia, one of the world’s most gender-segregated countries. Though women are still not allowed to drive, are required to wear head-to-toe black garments in public, and must live under the supervision of a male, they are now allowed to pursue government services such as education and healthcare without the permission of a male guardian. The issue was ordered by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, reports The Independent.

The change will allow millions of women to enter the workforce in the private and public sector, pursue an education, and explore medical treatment without the written permission of a family member, such as a father, brother, husband, or son.

“Now at least it opens the door for discussion on the guardian system,” said Maha Akeel, a women’s rights campaigner and a director at Jeddah-based Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. “Women are independent and can take care of themselves.”

“Male guardianship is un-Islamic and humiliating for women,” Akeel added. “Some (men) take advantage of this male guardianship for their own benefit and abuse it.”

Another historic barrier was broken approximately one year ago when women were allowed to vote for the first time ever. As a result of King Abdullah granting females the right to hold office and participate in local elections, a total of 20 women were elected to public office.

Positive developments are also taking place in the energy sector. Recently Saudi Arabia announced a $50 billion renewable energy plan. By 2023, the nation intends on harnessing 10 gigawatts of renewable energy. Such will be accomplished by constructing several wind and solar plants throughout the country. Once it is complete, up to 700 gigawatts may be produced.

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