Saudi Arabia is reportedly ending laws which require women to get permission from a man before leaving the country, INSIDER says.
It follows a global backlash to reporting on the government app Absher, which allowed men to enforce the permissions system via their smartphones.
The apparent change to the law was reported Thursday, July 11, morning by the Wall Street Journal. It cited a senior government source saying the change had come “from the top” and will be enacted some time this year.
The plan, according to the Journal, would end one of the most contentious elements of the Saudi guardianship system.
Under the system, every woman needs a named male guardian to give his permission for her to marry, to work, and also to travel. While most of the provisions would remain, the Journal said, the travel part will be removed.
Restrictions on where Saudi women can travel became a global issue after Absher app brought the much-criticized guardianship system into the digital age, and was inhibiting women who try to flee repression in Saudi Arabia.
In response US Senators, 14 members of Congress, and rights groups called on Apple and Google to remove the app from the App Store and Google Play, and accused the tech giants of “enforcing gender apartheid.”
Both companies continue to host the app now.