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The king of Saudi Arabia has issued a decree allowing women to drivebringing to an end the country's dubious distinction as the only place on earth banning the practice. But even when that change comes in next June, many things will still be out of reach for women in the extremely conservative country. There are many things women must ask the men in their lives for permission to do. These things include, but are not limited to:.

These restrictions are down to Saudi Arabia's guardianship system. Since its foundation, the country has been aligned with a strict interpretation of Islamic law - Wahhabism. After an extremist uprising inthose rules were enforced more rigidly.

It has helped create one of the most unequal countries in the Middle East, according to the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Index, ranking above only Yemen and Syria, both countries at war. The guardianship system has been criticised strongly, including by the organisation Human Rights Watch, which said it effectively turns women in to "legal minors who cannot make key decisions for themselves". However, that has not stopped some women in the country campaigning against it - although that is not easy in a country where women will also find it difficult to walk in public without a man accompanying them.

In the justice system, women are openly discriminated against. As is the case in some other countries with a strict interpretation of Islamic law, one man's court testimony is equal to that of two women. It is also hard for women to get custody of children after divorce if the children are older than seven boys or nine girls. This difficulty is further exacerbated if the woman is not Muslim i.

But some aspects of women's lives in Saudi Arabia are less restricted than might be expected. Women there have been able to vote since Education is compulsory for girls and boys until age 15, and more women than men graduate from university.

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Saudi women must cover their bodies completely by wearing an abaya - full-length, loose-fitting robes - in places where they may be seen by men who are not related to them. So there are women-only spaces - specific floors of shopping centres, for instance, where women take abayas off. Outside of those, women not following this rule face being chastised by the religious police. But there are exceptions: Non-Saudi women are legally permitted a more liberal dress code, and if they are not Muslim they are permitted to not cover their he.

Foreign women travelling there report having to cover up with an abaya before leaving the airport. But foreign he of state and first ladies have visited Saudi Arabia without wearing either abayas or head coverings. Much of Saudi life is very segregated by gender and this separation is carefully enforced. It can extend to the swimming pools and gyms of hotels used by international travellers. Few countries are as strict about what women can and can't do as Saudi Arabia, but there are other places where women are banned from certain activities - some of them surprising.

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These are just a few examples. China 's education ministry prevents women from studying mining, tunnel engineering, and other subjects - a decision it says it has made out of respect for women's safety. In Israelwomen cannot get a divorce without their husband's permission as the system is ruled by religious courts. And in one "extraordinarily unusual" case in the UK, judges told a woman who wanted a divorce that she could not have itbecause her husband wished to stay married.

In Russiathere is a list of jobs women are not allowed to do, including carpentry, firefighting, train driving and captaining boats.

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The list was confirmed inand employers can bypass it if they can prove they have made conditions safe for women - but, in practice, most avoid the cost of doing so. Women in one Indonesian city have been prohibited from straddling motorbikes when they ride as passengers behind men. The mayor of Lhokseumawe said women should sit side-saddle to save people's "morals and behaviours".

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The district ly also banned women from wearing tight trouserssaying these would be confiscated, cut up on the spot and replaced with a government-issue skirt wherever found. For women in Sudanthe punishment for wearing trousers - considered "indecent" clothing - is lashing. End of Saudi women driving ban reflects deep changes in society. How much do you know about life as a woman in Saudi Arabia?

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China girls barred from 'boys' jobs'. Ban for women 'straddling bikes'. Sudan women 'lashed for trousers'. Time for change in Saudi Arabia? Saudi to lift driving ban on women. Saudi woman driving blog 'arrest'. Are Saudi women really that oppressed? First Lady hecarf row - do Saudis really care? No hecarf for Melania- Does it matter? Image source, Getty Images.

Applying for passports Travelling abroad Getting married Opening a bank Starting certain businesses Getting elective surgery Leaving prison. Radio 4: What is Wahhabism? Women file petition to end guardianship system End of Saudi women driving ban reflects deep changes in society. Yet what they wear to work is not up to them. Melania Trump didn't wear a hecarf, but does it matter? Michelle Obama hecarf controversy: Do Saudis really care? Other restrictions on women around the world.

The jobs Chinese girls learn they can't do. Women facing discrimination in Russia.

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Indonesian city to ban women straddling motorbikes. Related Topics. Published 27 September Published 10 December Published 17 October Published 14 September Published 3 January Published 13 July Published 13 February Published 3 December Published 8 March Published 28 January

Middle eastern woman only

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