By Samar Al-Mogren
Feb 18, 2016
THE Kingdom being a member of the Gulf
Cooperation Council, Saudi nationals are allowed to travel between GCC
countries with their ID cards in place of a passport. Intra-GCC travel has
become like travelling between the Kingdom’s cities and regions. Now the
question is why the authorities don’t lift the condition of getting permission
of the male guardian for a woman to travel to a GCC state.
I believe that this demand is reasonable
and not something impossible. I am not talking about lifting the ban completely
but trying to approach the issue differently. I have written several articles
on this issue to the extent of boredom. In this article, I would like to point
out the fact that travelling to GCC states is now like travelling to Saudi
cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
It is depressing to see Saudi women waiting
in front of the immigration counters of Saudi airports for permission of their
husbands or guardians. If the Absher network goes down or is out of order, such
permission will not arrive in time, forcing the women to abandon their foreign
At the same time, their counterparts in
other GCC states travel all over the world like any other human being without
such permission. This is because nobody looks at them with suspicion. Compared
to their GCC counterparts, the condition of permission has lowered the status
of Saudi women even though they hold high positions and are appointed or
elected to decision-making bodies such as the Shoura Council and municipal
Saudi women are now capable of
participating in the decision-making process but they are unable to take the
decision of lifting this unjust condition that degrades them to the status of
I will not accept overused statements like
“society is not yet ready” or “society will not accept” after the recent
municipal council elections, where people voted 21 women to office. These women
were elected with a majority votes by male citizens. This is clear proof that
Saudi men have full confidence in their women. Therefore we can rightly say
that the decision that prevents women from travelling abroad except with the
permission of a male guardian is no more justifiable.
We should have the courage to admit that it
is the law that prevents women from travelling without a male guardian’s
permission, not society. This and other anti-women laws are not created by
society but lawmakers who believe that women should be treated like small
children and they cannot go out without a male guardian’s support and
We have reached a stage that we have to put
these anti-women laws in the garbage and replace them with new ones that would
consider woman equal to any other citizen of the country.
The discrimination against women is really
painful. Discrimination means not only ill-treating the black but also any
other citizen who is treated unequally because of gender, colour, or race.
There is no law in the country that discriminates against these groups except
women. How long this shall continue?