Tue, Aug 13, 2019 - Page 14 News List

Travel yes, marry no - What Saudi women still can’t do
有旅行自由、無結婚自由:沙烏地女性處境現況

Women hold their children reacting after getting vaccinations in Yemen on July 30.
帶孩子接種疫苗的葉門婦女。攝於七月三十日。

Photo: EPA
照片:歐新社

Saudi women have been granted new freedoms in recent years, as the Islamic kingdom eases restrictions seen by rights activists as repressive.

On Aug. 2, Saudi Arabia allowed women to travel without permission, further eroding a heavily criticized guardianship system under which all women are assigned a male relative whose approval is needed to take some key life decisions.

Here are some of the biggest outstanding obstacles to women’s freedom in the country.

FAMILY LIFE

Women still need permission from a male relative to marry or live on their own.

Those who disobey their guardian can face arrest.

Women who marry a foreigner cannot pass citizenship onto their children.

On Aug. 2, besides granting women above the age of 21 the right to obtain a passport and travel overseas, Saudi Arabia also allowed women to register births, marriage or divorce.

Women can also now be issued official family documents and become a guardian to children.

HEALTH AND EDUCATION

Since 2017, women do not need the consent of a male guardian to access services such as education and healthcare but women’s rights groups say this is implemented only on an ad hoc basis.

LEGAL

Women cannot file a lawsuit on their own, which activists say hinders their ability to report cases of domestic violence.

They can testify in court but in some cases their testimony is considered worth only half that of a man.

WORK

The decrees of Aug. 2 stipulate that all citizens have the right to work without facing any discrimination based on gender, disability or age.

Authorities had earlier removed restrictions on women’s work in the labor code and ended formal requirements for women to obtain a guardian’s permission to work, but some employers still demand this and are not penalized for doing so.

TODAY’S WORDS
今日單字

1. restriction n.

限制 (xian4 zhi4)

2. repressive adj.

壓迫性的

(ya1 po4 xing4 de5)

3. guardianship n.

監護權

(jian1 hu4 quan2)

4. permission n.

允許 (yun2 xu3)

5. approval n.

同意 (tong2 yi4)

6. on one’s own phr.

獨自 (du2 zi4)

7. domestic violence phr.

家庭暴力

(jia1 ting2 bao4 li4)

8. crackdown on dissent phr.

鎮壓異議人士

(zhen4 ya1 yi4 yi4 ren2 shi4)

9. conservative adj.

保守的

(bao2 shou3 de5)


Male consent is also required to open a bank account or apply for credit.

DRIVING

In 2017, Saudi Arabia lifted a longstanding ban on women driving that was seen as an emblem of repression.

However, activists say many still face hurdles in getting a license as driving schools catering to women are few and expensive.

DRESS CODE

Women are required to dress modestly, but there is no specific written dress code and compliance varies in different regions and different situations. In practice, most Saudi women are expected to wear the long, dark abaya robe and a headscarf.

Dress is monitored by religious police and women have been detained and released for immodest clothing. The requirements do not tend to apply to foreign women.

ACTIVISM

The relaxation of social norms and rules has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent, including the arrest and alleged torture of some female activists who campaigned for decades to improve women’s rights, according to rights groups.

SPORTS

Conservative clerics have repeatedly said women who do physical exercise are immodest, even when they are not in public or seen by men.

The kingdom sent two female athletes to the Olympics for the first time in 2012. Four went to the 2016 Games.

(Reuters with staff writer)

沙烏地阿拉伯的女性近年新獲得了一些自由──沙烏地這伊斯蘭教王國鬆綁了某些限制,這些限制被維權人士視為壓迫。

沙國八月二日頒布新法,讓女性旅行不再需要經過男性許可,這使該國飽受詬病的監護制度再退讓一步。該監護制度規定所有女性都必須有一名男性親屬作為監護人,一些重要的決定都必須經過他的同意。

以下是沙國婦女自由仍須面臨的一些主要障礙。

家庭生活

女性仍然需要男性親屬的許可,才能夠結婚或獨自生活。

違抗監護人的女性可能會遭到逮捕。

與外國人結婚的沙國婦女,其子女無法享有沙國公民身份。

八月二日的新法,除了讓二十一歲以上的女性有權取得護照和出國旅行,還允許婦女去登記孩子出生、結婚或離婚。

戶政公文現在也可以發給婦女,婦女也可以成為兒童的監護人。

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