Saudi women no longer need consent from male guardians to get state services

Riyadh: Saudi women will no longer need a male guardian’s consent to receive public services according to a recent order issued By King Salman on Thursday.

The new order was after Riyadh was appointed to the UN Commission on the status of women.

The decree states that women are no longer required to have a male guardian’s permission to request services “unless there is a legal basis for this request in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic Shariah.”

“This came in a royal directive to all concerned government agencies, after approval of proposals raised by the General Secretariat of the Council of Ministers to resolve issues related to human rights,” the royal decree stated.

Local media reported that Saudi Supreme Court demanded agencies to review procedures that require the approval of the woman’s guardian to complete a service and called to lift male guardianship within three months.

Maha Akeel, Director of public information and communication, Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) says, “This (male guardianship) has always been an obstacle to women and demeaning because unfortunately some guardians abused their authority over women and took advantage” as told to Arab News.

According to Akeel, the new decree gives women rights which they were denied from the beginning “to be her own guardian and take care of her official matter, without the need for the approval of the guardian, and Women are independent and can take care of themselves.”

Now at least it opens the door for discussion on the guardian system,” Akeel said, as reported in Reuters.