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The New Arab

Saudi women take to Twitter to challenge male guardianship

Saudi women are using social media to have their voices heard [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 September, 2016

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As Saudi Arabia sets its eyes on a transformative vision for the future, women from the kingdom are demanding that their rights are not left behind.
Following the launch of a campaign by Human Rights Watch [HRW] aimed at ending male guardianship in Saudi Arabia, tens of thousands of women from the kingdom have taken to Twitter to voice their opposition to the country's paternalistic practices.

The watchdog's report published in July spoke of how Saudi women are "boxed in" by laws which require them to seek the approval of a male guardian for the most simple transactions and activities, including travel, renewing a passport or going to work.

According to the report, which is based on interviews with 61 Saudi men and women, the system also locks women into abusive relationships without possibility of escape.

HRW contend that guardianship requirements are "the most significant impediment to realising women's rights in the country, effectively rendering adult women legal minors who cannot make key decisions for themselves".
Guardianship requirements are 'the most significant impediment to realising women's rights in the country'
Writing under the hashtag #TogetherToEndMaleGuardianship, over 170,000 people in Saudi Arabia shared their negative experiences under the domination of male guardianship, while also demanding equal rights.

"How come it's fair an old 50 yo women need her own son's permission to work/travel/get a treatment etc...?" asked Twitter user Haneen, referring to the fact that adult women in the kingdom often have their own children as guardians.

Other users used the opportunity to share videos of local religious scholars spewing their own views on how women, among other things, should be kept as "hostages" in their homes. 


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