Some Saudi Women Want to Ditch Male Guardianship but Others Don't!

Published September 24th, 2018 - 01:46 GMT
In Saudi Arabia, women are required to grant a male guardian's approval for any decision they want to take, including traveling abroad, getting married or many things. (FilePhoto/AFP)
In Saudi Arabia, women are required to grant a male guardian's approval for any decision they want to take, including traveling abroad, getting married or many things. (FilePhoto/AFP)

An online debate has been stirring on the social media among Saudi females over ditching the controversial male guardianship system in the Kingdom.

This discriminatory system requires every woman in Saudi Arabia to receive her male guardian’s approval - a father, brother, husband or son - to make a range of critical decisions on her behalf, including travelling outside the country, getting married, studying abroad or even to leave prison!

The debate, prompted by Saudi celebrations of the 88th National Day of the Kingdom, is not new.

It has been going in Saudi Arabia for years and demands to ditch the male guardianship system have been soaring in the last year as King Salman issued orders to allow all women access to any government service without the consent of a male guardian. This was regarded as a big step towards real reform.

On the social media, Saudi women went on to tweet with the hashtag: “سعوديات نطلب اسقاط الولاية 808” that 'Saudi Females Demand an End to Male Guardianship' for their rights to decide their own lives decisions without waiting for a male guardian.

Some women said they are not celebrating the national day until equal rights are imposed in favor of them.

In response, a counter-hashtag was launched by other Saudi women who expressed their satisfaction with the male guardianship system. The hashtag: “سعوديات نرفض اسقاط الولاية 808” Saudi Females Say No to Ditch Male Guardianship”.

Translation: “We are Saudi women who refuse anyone to interfere in their matters. Who said we want to ditch male guardianship? And who gave non-Saudi women the right to talk on our behalf?...if you have the right to speak one word, we have the right to speak a thousand words. We are women who stand together against ending male guardianship.”

Several activists were angered by the hashtag and the call to reject ending the male guardianship.

This comes at a time when Saudi women have recently been given the right to sit behind the wheel and drive their own cars.


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