The King of Saudi Arabia has issued an order to amend the country’s male guardianship laws, granting women more freedom.
Saudi media has reported that King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued an order earlier this week, allowing the women Saudi Arabia to benefit from government services without the consent of a male guardian.
This includes the right to an education and to seek professional health care, as well as to enter the nation’s growing workforce.
According to the Saudi-based English language news website, a royal decree issued on Thursday says that women are not required to obtain consent from their guardians for services provided to them “unless there is a legal basis for this request in accordance with the provisions of the Islamic Shariah.”
The laws of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are based on the Islamic sharia law, and are enforced strictly on everyone, both males and women in the country. However, under the rule of King Salman, the conservative kingdom has been ordered to review many its laws.
Earlier in April, Saudi Arabia was voted into the United Nations Women’s Rights Commission, a UN panel of 45 nations engaged in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
Also in April, deputy crown prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud promoted more women being part of the Kingdom’s workforce, but said that it might “take time” since “[the Saudi woman] is not used to working. She needs more time to accustom herself to the idea of work,” according to The Economist.
On the topic of allowing women to drive vehicles, which Prince Mohammed has previously hinted support towards, he said that “women driving is not a religious issue as much as it is an issue that relates to the community itself that either accepts it or refuses it,” local media reported.