As a woman I am always partial to questions of global women’s issues. Tackling the world on your own as a woman definitely has its struggles and delights, but most importantly, it makes you more aware of the treatment of women across the globe. Fortunately I am happy to announce a change in policy from one of the countries where the everyday life of a woman is under strict regulation: Saudi Arabia.
According to the AP, today the Saudi daily newspaper Ali-Watan reported that the government has made a policy decision allowing women traveling on their own to stay in hotels or furnished apartments without a male companion. Hotels will now accept lone women travelers, as long as their information is sent to the local police.
Although it may seem like a small step to us Westerners, it is a big advance in a country where women are under strict Islamic law. Everyday life for a Saudi women entails everything from not being able to drive to needing the permission of a male guardian to travel abroad.
The international community has voiced its opinion on the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia, insisting on the necessity for change. Beyond women’s issues, as a travel destination Saudi Arabia isn’t on the top list for the U.S. government; it was placed on the State Department Travel Advisory website, last summer and again during the holidays.