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Restrictions and reforms: Saudi Arabia’s treatment of women

– Personal status –

Under the guardianship system, women of any age cannot marry without the consent of their male guardian.

A man may also divorce his wife without the woman’s consent.

On Sunday, the Saudi justice ministry said courts were required to notify women by text message that their marriages had been terminated, a measure seemingly aimed at ending cases of men getting a divorce without informing their partners.

– Public spaces –

In January 2018, women were allowed into a special section in select sports stadiums for the first time. They had previously been banned from attending sporting events.

Saudi Arabia has also dialled back the power of its infamous morality police force, or “mutawa”, who for decades patrolled the streets on the lookout for women with uncovered hair or bright nail polish.

Some women in the capital, Riyadh, and other cities are now seen in public without headscarves.

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