Saudi Arabia has long been the only country in the world that does not allow women to drive. Now, there appears to be a new development in controlling the movements of its female population: the Kingdom has reportedly introduced an electronic tracking system alerting male guardians when a woman has left the country.
Reports emerged of the system last week when Manal al-Sherif, a women’s rights campaigner who has urged women to defy the driving ban, was alerted by a husband who received a message from the immigration authorities advising him that his wife had left the international airport in Riyadh. He happened to be traveling with her. [...]
The system notifying male guardians that their dependents—which includes their wife, children and foreign workers sponsored by them—had left the country appears to have been in place for a couple of years now. Ahmed Al Omran, a Saudi blogger, explains that it appears that this service, which in the past was an opt-out service, is now reaching those who had previously registered their details with the Ministry of Interior.
“The problem is not that there is now an electronic system that sends an SMS when women travel,” writes Omran. “The problem is that the government is enforcing rules of male guardianships even on the rest of us who don’t believe in such rules.”
Equality is a foreign concept to women in Saudi Arabia. A Human Rights Watch report notes that women in the Kingdom live in a discriminatory system that requires women and girls to get permission from their male guardians before they can study, work or travel. The Blaze aptly notes that this “effectively [treats] an adult woman like a piece of property. Some have called this slavery.” Indeed.
H/T: The Blaze