Saudi Arabian Women Demanding An End to Male Guardianship Laws

A Saudi woman looks back during prayers for Eid al-Adha in Riyadh October 26, 2012. Muslims around the world celebrate Eid-al-Adha to mark the end of the Haj by slaughtering sheep, goats, cows and camels to commemorate Prophet Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail on God's command.  REUTERS/Fahad Shadeed  (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: RELIGION) - RTR39LRY

Over the past few years Saudi Arabia has taken small steps to ease its control over women. In 2013 the country criminalized domestic abuse, but still has yet to address the issue that a woman still remains under guardianship of males.

In the country, women must get permission from a male guardian to do just about anything. This includes traveling, renting an apartment, receiving medical treatment and getting married. Many employers also require proof of consent in order to hire a woman.

Lately a movement in Saudi Arabia has been gaining some traction on social media with #TogetherToEndMaleGuardianship and #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen trended on Twitter.

14,000 women in the country have also filed a petition to end the male guardianship laws that are still in place.

According to Reuters, Saudi King Salman’s royal court was flooded with telegrams from women supporting the campaign on Sunday. The old fashioned form of communication was chosen to show that the urging is coming from within Saudi Arabia, the Wall Street Journal reported, but some telegram operators refused to send them.

Last week after #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen began to trend, Twitter started suspending accounts that used this hashtag such as the female empowerment non-profit SAFE which had its account removed.

Many people though it was Saudi Arabian men reporting user accounts as spam, but people soon remember that Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Abdulaziz Alsaud is the 2nd largest shareholder of Twitter and has some pull in the company.


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