Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has issued a directive to government offices that allows women greater access to government services without the consent of a male relative, local media reported on Thursday.
Women’s rights activists said the memo, which has been circulating in government offices this week, codifies the rights of Saudi women to access a job, higher education or medical procedures, for example, without a male guardian’s permission.
There are no specific laws barring women from these services, but some government bodies previously requested that a male give his consent first.
One Saudi activist said the memo does not appear to change restrictive rules pertaining to the rights of women to obtain a passport or travel abroad without a male relative’s permission.
* Associated Press