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- Jul 4, 2016
Despite reform, Saudi 'guardianship' still restricts women: HRWDespite reform, Saudi 'guardianship' still restricts women: HRW
DOHA (Reuters) - Saudi Arabian laws requiring women to have male guardians have been reformed in recent years but continue to restrict and endanger them, obstructing government plans to reform the economy, U.S.-based Human Rights Watch says in a report.
The report drew criticism on Sunday from a government rights official, who said the system was designed to protect and help women, and was less restrictive than portrayed by HRW.
Women in Saudi Arabia must usually obtain permission from a guardian - father, husband, or son - to travel, study or marry.
These laws, making women legal wards of a male relative and backed by a powerful clerical establishment, have in recent years been reformed, with women no longer needing to obtain male guardian permission to work, HRW said in the report, "Boxed In: Women and Saudi Arabia’s Male Guardianship System."
But the system remains largely intact and an impediment to realizing women’s rights, it said.