Human rights in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia allows women to travel abroad independently

Women can now apply for a passport without a male guardian's permission
Women in Saudi Arabia will now be allowed to travel abroad without a male guardian's permission - ending a restriction that has long been a symbol of the kingdom's ultra-conservative rule.

A Royal Decree which was published in the Official Gazette at midnight on Friday abolished parts of the government's male guardianship system.

The decree also recognises women's rights to register a birth, marriage or divorce, as well as expanding work opportunities for women.

Qanta Ahmed is a medical doctor, social commentator and author of the book In the Land of Invisible Women.

(Photo: Saudi women arrive to attend the Janadriyah festival of Heritage and Culture. Credit: Getty Images)