Malaysiakini News

Saudi women can now open businesses without male consent

Bernama  |  Published:  |  Modified:

Saudi women can now open businesses without the consent of their male relatives, China's Xinhua news agency reported Al Arabiya as saying yesterday.

Besides the opening up of society, the Saudi Arabian government seeks to integrate women in different walks of life to meet the requirements of a fast-growing private sector.

The change in policy is also a step forward away from the kingdom's strict guardianship system imposed on women for decades.

"Women can now launch their own businesses and benefit from (governmental) e-services without having to prove consent from a guardian," the Ministry of Commerce and Investment said on its website.

Under the kingdom's guardianship system, the women were required to present proof of permission from a male guardian, normally the husband, father or brother, to do government paperwork, travel or enrol in classes.

Long dependent on crude oil production for economic revenue, Saudi Arabia is pushing to expand the country's private sector, including an expansion of female employment under a reform plan for a post-oil era.

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor's office this month said it would begin recruiting women investigators for the first time.

The kingdom has also opened 140 positions for women at airports and border crossings, a historic first that the government said drew 107,000 female applicants.

- Bernama

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