Nine things Saudi women still can't do

Published December 12, 2015
Saudi women vote Saturday for the first time in elections. — AFP/File
Saudi women vote Saturday for the first time in elections. — AFP/File

RIYADH: Saudi women vote Saturday for the first time in elections but still face a host of other restrictions, among the tightest in the world.

Under Saudi policies and practices women cannot:

  • Drive; Saudi Arabia is the world's only country banning women from getting behind the wheel
  • Travel, without the consent of a male family member known as a guardian
  • Marry, without the consent of a guardian
  • Work, without the consent of a guardian
  • Appear in public without covering herself in a black abaya robe from head to toe
  • Receive the same amount of inheritance as a man
  • Work in certain jobs
  • Mingle with unrelated men in public places such as restaurants
  • Divorce as easily as a man

Saudi women can:

  • Vote in municipal elections, the kingdom's only polls for public officials
  • Sit on the Shura Council, an appointed body which advises cabinet
  • Hold the most senior corporate executive posts
  • Work in government administration and an expanding number of private sector areas, including as lawyers
  • Be forced to marry at a young age, as there is no legally defined minimum age

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