A full session of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council will soon discuss a proposal to grant Saudi women the right to apply for their own passport without their guardian’s permission, according to reports.
Arab News cites local media as saying the proposal had been submitted to the council’s security committee with the aim of empowering women and protecting them from being smuggled across borders.
According to the publication, the discussion will focus on achieving consistent treatment between men and women.
Saudi Arabia’s cabinet previously voted to allow women to have their own national identity cards in 2013 in line with a Shura Council recommendation.
There are no restrictions on Saudi women being issued passports under the current law, which only states citizens need to be 18 before applying. But similarly to women driving, the practice has not been culturally accepted in the conservative kingdom.
The committee’s proposal reportedly states that granting passports to married and unmarried women would reduce the problems they face while travelling and not contravene Islamic law or the customs of the country.
In June last year, Saudi’s director general of passports Major General Sulaiman Al-Yahya was quoted as saying new controls for the travel of Saudi women would be announced.
He said the authorities were reviewing procedures for granting women permits to travel abroad.