HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
Saudi Arabia’s male guardianship system is one of the most significant impediments to women’s rights in the country, effectively leaving adult women legal minors who cannot make key decisions for themselves.
Under the system, every woman must have a male guardian – a father, brother, husband, or even a son – who has the authority to make a range of critical decisions on her behalf – like whether she can travel, get married, or leave prison.
One woman, Dina Ali Lasloom, was recently returned to Saudi Arabia under the system’s oppressive guidelines after she attempted to flee abuse. Her safety is now at risk.
For almost a year, Saudi women have campaigned to abolish the male guardianship system. Last month, King Salman took action against one arbitrary guardianship requirement. But now he should go further and abolish them all.