The renewed prospect that Saudi Arabia might lift its restrictive guardianship laws has been met with a mix of hope and cynicism by women in the conservative kingdom.
Saudi news media reported recently that the government is considering what would be the most significant reform yet of women’s rights in the kingdom, which has some of the world’s most patriarchal laws. The guardianship rules require women to get the permission of a male guardian to marry, enroll in a school or a university, apply for a passport or travel out of the country.
Muna Abu Sulayman, a popular Saudi television presenter, tweetedthat she woke up with “a huge grin” on her face after the reports came out.
“Long journey, 2 years ago we were told soon,” she wrote, referring to a series of reforms launched in 2017 by Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who has vowed to return the country to a more moderate form of Islam. “Soon is now.”