Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has put loosening social restrictions at the heart of his economic transformation plan—which seeks to diversify the economy away from reliance on oil and attracting foreign investment.
Tuesday 20, August 2019
Saudi mothers will be able to apply for passports for children in their custody and approve travel abroad under new guidelines that represent a further chipping away of exclusive male power in the conservative Islamic Kingdom, reported Bloomberg.
The changes detailed on the website of Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports spell out how a major policy change earlier this month—which allowed women over 21 to leave the country without a male relative’s permission from the end of August—will work in practise.
The new guidelines specify that men and women over the age of 21 can obtain passports and travel without a guardian’s approval. Those who are under 21 will not need permission if they are either married, travelling to study on a government scholarship or heading overseas on official duties.
Additionally, Saudis under 21 whose fathers are dead can get approval to travel from their mother, as opposed to another male relative—though the guidelines still appear to give priority to fathers if both parents are alive.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia announced that it will allow women to leave the country without permission from a male relative, a major step toward ending a restrictive guardianship system that has been heavily criticised at home and abroad.
Similarly, the Saudi cabinet lifted a ban on women driving in the last quarter of 2018.