February 21, 2018

BABY STEPS: Saudi women to start own busines without male permission.

The policy change, announced by the Saudi government on Thursday, also marks a major step away from the strict guardianship system that has ruled the country for decades.

“Women can now launch their own businesses and benefit from (governmental) e-services without having to prove consent from a guardian,” the ministry of commerce and investment said on its website.

Under Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system, women are required to present proof of permission from a male “guardian” — normally the husband, father or brother — to do any government paperwork, travel or enrol in classes.

Long dependent on crude production for economic revenue, Saudi Arabia is pushing to expand the country’s private sector, including an expansion of female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.

All these baby steps are adding up — faster than I’d thought possible, and without (yet?) any major backlash.

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