The King of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdul Aziz, has issued an order on Friday allowing women to benefit from government services without getting the consent of a male guardian.
After issuing the new order, Saudi women will no longer need a man’s permission to study, make police complaints or benefit from government services such as the health care system.
The system of male guardianship requires women to obtain permission from a guardian, who could be a father, husband, or son, to travel, study or marry.
There are no laws barring women from these governmental services, however some government bodies would request a male relative to give his consent first.
Earlier in 2011, King Abdullah allowed women into the government’s advisory Shura Council which allowed them to practice their rights to vote in municipal elections, work in some retail and hospitality jobs.
Regardless of the progress, Saudi Arabia was still ranked 141 of 144 countries in the 2016 Global Gender Gap, a World Economic Forum study on how women fare in economic and political participation, health and education.