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Saudi women roll their suitcases at the departure hall of the Jeddah Airport on August 6, 2019. - Saudi Arabia's easing of travel restrictions on women was hailed in the kingdom last week as a historic leap for gender equality, but it also drew anger from hardliners backing sexist male "guardianship" rules. The Muslim kingdom announced it was effectively allowing women over the age of 21 to obtain passports and travel abroad without securing the permission of their "guardians" -- husband, father or other male relatives.

Over 1,000 Saudi women traveled without a male guardian for the first time in decades after the country loosened its sexist laws

Saudi women aged 21 and over on Monday were able to move freely without a male guardian's permission.
An image showing Absher, a Saudi government app which can be used to grant and rescind travel permission, being used on a tablet computer.

Apple and Google should be ashamed of their part in an insidious Saudi Arabian app that even the Saudi government now admits has to change

Saudi Arabia on Friday ditched a system requiring adult women to receive a man's permission to cross the Saudi border. It was no thanks to big tech.

Saudi Arabia runs a huge, sinister online database of women that men use to track them and stop them from running away

Men in Saudi Arabia have near-total control where women travel. INSIDER investigated the government's Absher website, which can help them do it.
A Saudi Arabian woman waves her country's flag prior the start of Saudi Arabia's match against Kuwait in the 21st Gulf Cup in Manama, on January 12, 2013.

Saudi women no longer need a man’s permission to travel after the government changed a law that let men control women’s movements with an ...

Women in Saudi Arabia aged 21 and above may now travel without asking their guardian — a man with legal authority over them — for permission.
Saudi sisters Wafa al-Subaie (L,) 25, and Maha al-Subaie (R,) 28, said they'd got their asylum approved on Tuesday.

Saudi sisters who stole their dad’s phone to flee despite travel restrictions on women say they’ve been granted asylum

Wafa and Maha al-Subaie said they are "on our way to start a new life in a new country" after using their dad's account on the Absher app to leave.
Wafa (L) and Maha (R) al-Subaie have been in Georgia since April 16 seeking asylum.

Runaway sisters call on Apple and Google to ban Saudi app that restricts women’s travel after they had to steal their dad’s phone to escap...

"It gives men control over women," Wafa al-Subaie told Reuters from Georgia on Wednesday. "They [Apple and Google] have to remove it."
Saudi sisters Maha al-Subaie (L,) 28, and Wafa al-Subaie (R,) 25, in a video posted to Twitter urging people to help.

2 Saudi sisters fled the country and are live-tweeting their pleas for asylum. They say their father and brothers are trying to chase them down.

Maha and Wafa al-Subaie launched Twitter account @GeorgiaSisters to raise awareness, and say they fled "oppression" from their father and brothers.
Bethany Vierra, 31 (left), has been trapped in Saudi Arabia thanks to the country's "guardianship" laws that give her ex-husband the power to bar her from returning to the US. Riyadh, where Vierra lives, is pictured on the right.

The American woman whose ex-husband wouldn’t let her leave Saudi Arabia was granted legal residency, letting her travel and use her bank account...

Bethany Vierra said that within hours of The New York Times publishing a story about her case, Saudi officials granted her residency.
A composite image, from left to right, of Saudi refugee Shahad Mohaimeed; Bethany Vierra, the US citizen trapped in Saudi Arabia; and ex-Saudi Rahaf Mohammed.

Saudi Arabia’s repressive guardianship laws are trapping these women in desperate situations they have little chance of escaping

The latest is US citizen Bethany Vierra, who divorced her Saudi husband in 2018 but is trapped in the kingdom because he won't let her leave.
A Saudi woman takes photographs with her mobile phone in Dec. 2018.

An American woman trapped in Saudi Arabia has few options for escape because of divorce laws that give men near-complete control

Under Saudi Arabia's guardianship laws, every women must have a male guardian who decides all of their critical decisions, from obtaining a passport to travel.