The Saudi Shura Council has approved a proposal to allow Saudi women to obtain their own independent passports.
1 February 2017| Last updated on 27 June 2017
In a surprising move, the security committee of the Shura Council has approved a proposal to change the rules concerning travel documents and thus allowing women to obtain their own passports, independent of their guardian, usually a father, brother or husband.
The bill still has to be debated and voted on, but at least now there is a chance. Should it pass, it would be a breakthrough for Saudi women as it gives them more individual rights.
A father would only be able to register their minor (under 18) sons and daughters onto his own passport and husbands won’t be able to register their wives onto their own passports either, which makes it mandatory for women to apply for their own independent passports.
These changes would be a significant step towards ending the exploitation of travel documents by the guardians.
Second proposal approved
Earlier this week, the same committee also supported a bill proposal to allow Saudi citizenship to be given to children born to Saudi mothers and non-Saudi fathers. The bill proposes a point system to grant citizenship to these children.
SEE ALSO: 6 Saudis who pushed for change in 2016
There is no official date announced for when these two issues will be debated and voted on, but it should happen within the upcoming months.
Choosing to stay
These possible changes come shortly after a CNN article “The Saudi women afraid to go home” made headlines. Saudi princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud responded to the article and created the hastag #I_Choose_To_Stay, which addresses how there are many Saudi women who choose to live in the Kingdom for various reasons.
— Reema Bandar Al-Saud (@rbalsaud) 19 January 2017
There has been a lot of changes in the Kingdom in regards to women and the laws concerning them. Social media has also played a big part in helping women voice their opinions. If these two proposed laws pass, they will make 2017 a remarkable year for Saudi Arabia, its women and women rights in general.