In a series of “modernising” reforms, Saudi Arabia may lift its ban on women travelling without seeking the permission of a man.
According to The Independent, current laws in Saudi Arabia require women below the age of 45 to provide proof they have the approval of their male guardian or “mahram” before travelling, even locally.
The director general of the kingdom’s passport office said, at the Jeddah launch of a new campaign entitled “Your Passport, Your Identity”, that new rules would assess travel documents based on reason for travel, not age.
According to new regulations, women will no longer have to apply for permission prior to travel from various government ministries, said Major General Sulaiman al-Yahya.
At the press conference, Al-Yahya also said the department was considering issuing ID cards to accompany traditional travel permits.
Others suggested the new laws would not be feared by “women who have nothing to hide”.
There are concerns that the new rules still require women to have chaperones at all times, and that the modernisation will just come in the form of more advanced methods of control.