One of the Saudi prominent dailies sparked controversy in side the Kingdom and worldwide after announcing in a front page headline the government is to terminate the “Guardianship Law” by the age 18.
In bold font, the newspaper’s headline read: “No guardianship by the age 18”. This was followed by the word “soon” written in a small red font.
The story took the Kingdom by storm as many people mixed it up with the discriminatory law of male guardianship on women in Saudi Arabia.
In fact, the news was about changes being considered by the government to lower the age of minors having legal guardians to 18 instead of 21 years old and the story was strictly referring to males only.
This comes at a time Saudi activists have been campaigning to pressure the government into ditching the controversial male guardianship system in the Kingdom. The system that 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 traveling outside the country, getting married or studying abroad.
However, the misleading news has gone viral on social media a few hours after the newspaper was released.
Many have celebrated the news as hashtag #اقرار_اسقاط_الولايه_بعد_ال١٨ [End of guardianship law over 18] climbed the worldwide trends on Twitter.
Some potential good news coming out of Saudi Arabia today, government announcing that the restrictive guardianship laws on women will be abolished soon. Reactions online among youth is euphoric !! #اقرار_اسقاط_الولايه_بعد_ال١٨ https://t.co/FOa7UhGbQO— Bessma Momani (@b_momani) July 9, 2019
Meanwhile, others went to question whether the title refers to the male guardianship law on females or legal guardianship in general.
Yeah this has nothing to do with male-guardianship over women. It’s about making the age of 18 as the official age of adulthood, and they make no mention of women. It reads as if they’re talking only about male citizens.— Rasha Elass (@RashaElass) July 9, 2019
Your tweet can easily be misconstrued: “male guardianship” is often taken for male-on-female-guardianship.— ريم محمد أسعد® (@Reem_Asaad) July 9, 2019
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