Saudi Arabia to allow adult women to travel, register divorce

Saudi Arabia has amended national regulations to allow adult women to register a marriage or a divorce and be eligible for the guardianship of minor children, Reuters reported, citing local media.

According to the report, Riyadh has also altered the national passport system, travel permissions and civil affairs regulations, which will allow Saudi women to travel without permission from male relatives or guardians.

Royal decrees published by the official gazette on Friday stipulate that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen that applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission from a relative or guardian to travel, Reuters reported.

The amendments to regulations also grant women – for the first time – the right to register childbirth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible to be the guardian of minor children, according to Reuters.

The rights of women in Saudi Arabia, an ultraconservative kingdom on the Arabian peninsula, have been severely limited, even when compared to other Muslim nations. Though Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman advocates ambitious reforms for the country’s women, they nonetheless remain in the shadow of men, following strict dress codes and being required to seek the permission of male guardians for marriage or divorce.

Women in the country have only recently been permitted to drive and allowed to watch sports events live at the event.

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