Saudi princess says Shura Council working towards ending guardianship system

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Saudi Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud said Monday the kingdom’s Shura Council has plans to end the male guardianship system, but women being allowed to drive is a step in the right direction.

In a CNN interview, Princess Reema said guardianship laws are a “critical” issue that the Shura Council continues to work towards.

“As a woman in government, my role is actually to keep highlighting the issues that will help us move forward holistically, not just for an elite community.”

Princess Reema, who is the Executive Vice President of the Saudi Sports Authority, did not specify when the change of law might take place, but she reaffirmed that guardianship laws do not prevent women from driving and getting a job. The laws, however, do restrict women from traveling and getting married up until a certain age.

She said that the changes taking currently place in Saudi Arabia are part of an economic strategy to increase the number of people, especially women, in the workforce.

The princess said the issue of women driving is more than the tip of the iceberg.

She said driving is not just an issue of mobility, “it's job creation, it's allowing a woman to behave as a professional ... She can operate independently."

Saudi women were officially able to drive at the stroke of midnight on June 24 as a royal decree granting them the right to drivers’ licenses came into effect.

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