Over 14,000 Saudi Women Sign Petition Calling for the Abolishment of Male Guardianship
Saudi women don't want to be treated like four-year-olds anymore, thank you very much!
A petition calling for an end to Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system - by which women are treated like minors - has amassed over 14,000 signatures from women across the country, according to BBC.
I Am Still My Own Guardian #Iammyownguardian #سعوديات_نطالب_باسقاط_الولايه #madeatsca #politicalart pic.twitter.com/jLKJk4halb— Ms Saffaa (@MsSaffaa) August 2, 2016
The kingdom's notorious male guardianship tradition prohibits adult women from travelling, working, studying, filing a legal claim, renting a property, and even undergoing medical treatment without a male guardian's consent. A Saudi woman cannot apply for a passport without the permission of her male next of kin.
The campaign grew out of a viral Twitter hashtag #سعوديات_نطالب_باسقاط_الولايه which translates to "Saudi women demanding the abolishment of guardianship." The hashtag was launched in July following the release of a Human Rights Watch report on the issue.
Soon after, the movement started gaining momentum, with Saudi women taking a more creative approach to raising awareness about their grievances with videos and artwork calling for the end of male guardianship, and even bracelets with the words 'I Am My Own Guardian'. A Human Rights Watch researcher even called the campaign "incredible and unprecedented."
The Saudi king's office was reportedly swarming with hundreds of women who wanted to personally deliver messages backing the campaign to the monarch over the weekend.
(Artwork: Human Rights Watch)