Saudi women activists have petitioned country’s consultative council to back a demand to curb ‘absolute authority’ of male guardians over women

RIYADH: Saudi women activists have petitioned the country’s consultative council to back a demand to curb the ‘absolute authority’ of male guardians over women in the ultra-conservative Sunni Muslim kingdom, a signatory said.

Saudi Arabia imposes a strict interpretation of Islamic law, forbidding women to work or travel without the authorisation of their male guardians.

It is also the only country in the world that bans women from driving, and a woman cannot obtain an identification card without the consent of her guardian.

Activist Aziza Yousef told AFP that ‘rights activists have petitioned the Shura (consultative) Council on the occasion of the International Women’s Day (on March 8) demanding an end to the absolute authority of men over women’.

They demanded ‘measures to protect (women’s) rights,’ in their petition to the Shura Council, she said.