Saudi rights activists have petitioned the monarchy’s consultative council to support a demand to curb the “absolute authority” of male guardians over women in the oil-rich country.
(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - Saudi rights activists have petitioned the monarchy’s consultative council to support a demand to curb the “absolute authority” of male guardians over women in the oil-rich country.Aziza Yousef, a signatory to the petition, said that rights activists have petitioned “the Shura (consultative) Council on the occasion of the International women’s Day (on March 8) demanding an end to the absolute authority of men over women.” They called for “measures to protect (women’s) rights,” in their petition to the Shura Council, she added. Women in Saudi Arabia are banned from working or traveling without the authorization of their male guardians. It is also the only country in the world where women are prohibited from driving, and even obtaining an identification card without the consent of her guardian. The petition, which is signed by 10 activists, also calls for allowing women to drive. Women in Saudi Arabia are required to obtain permission from a male guardian to perform “certain surgeries” and to “leave the university campus during study hours,” Yousef noted. She further referred to a recent case in which a pregnant student had to give birth on campus after a women-only university in Riyadh denied access to paramedics. Another university student died in February after paramedics were banned from entering her campus because they were not accompanied by a male guardian. Last October, three female members of the Shura Council, which advises the government on policy, presented a recommendation for women to be given the right to drive. However, the proposal was blocked by the male-dominated 150-member assembly./129