What women in Saudi Arabia cannot do:
— Marry, divorce, travel, get a job or have elective surgery without permission from their male guardians. Women still are beholden to restrictive guardianship laws that govern nearly every aspect of their lives. In cases where a woman’s father is deceased or absent, her husband, a male relative, brother, or in some cases, even a son, must give his approval before a woman can obtain often basic entitlements.
— Mix freely with members of the opposite sex. Some exceptions include hospitals, banks and medical colleges. In 2013 authorities ordered shops that employ both men and women to build “separation walls” to enforce rules preventing the sexes from mixing together.
— Appear in public without wearing a full-length black abaya. The all-encompassing loose robe is meant to protect women’s modesty in public.
— Conduct certain business without a male sponsor. Women wanting to open their own business often have to call on at least two men who can testify to her character before she can be granted a loan or a license.
— Retain custody of their children in a divorce after they reach the age of seven for boys and nine for girls.
— Apply for a national identification card or passport without the permission of a male guardian.
— Eat at restaurants that don’t have a separate designated family section. Most restaurants have a “family” section with a divider that separates families from dining near all-male parties. Women are also required to use a separate entrance to the men. It is usually a side door.
— Get a fair hearing in court, where “the testimony of one man equals that of two women.” The legal position in Saudi Arabia of a woman is equal to that of a minor, and therefore she has little authority over her own life.
— Receive an equal inheritance. Under Sharia inheritance laws, daughters receive half what is awarded to their brothers. Critics say this is due to a misinterpretation of Islamic laws, sometimes sending women into poverty because they are left out of their fathers’ wills.
Pulled from CNN.com. Written by Jamie Tarabay.