Has Saudi Society changed enough to allow women to Travel alone without Mahram?

With society changing rapidly not only in Saudi Arabia but all over the world, it has become a common norm for women to travel alone now. This is now being adopted by Saudi Arabia which at first did not allow Saudi women, married or unmarried, to travel alone without a male guardian. This was a contradiction by several females as men, married or unmarried, can travel alone or with their male friends at any given point of time.[irp]

It is good to see how the Saudi society is changing and adopting this new trend. Several Saudi women have traveled abroad in the last few years along with their female friends or children. According to some of them, it is a lot of fun to travel this way and these women prefer traveling in Arab countries mostly like Dubai, Egypt or Bahrain. Some of them also like to travel to European countries as it is a new experience for them. Girls before marriage would travel to countries that are famous for shopping however after getting married and having children, their traveling experiences are now limited to places like scientific countries and countries that have museums.

Lack of tourism education in Saudi Arabia is also a major reason why young girls want to travel abroad. Traveling abroad and especially alone is a whole new kind of experience and gives them the chance to explore the rest of the world. The society is having such a positive change now that it does not look down on females who travel now. In fact, they encourage their women more to travel and explore, as much as they can! 

One of the reasons why society does not look down on women traveling now is because everyone has the same rights and if men can travel, women should be allowed too. After surveying several men, they stated how it is completely okay for females to travel alone not only for fun but for business conferences and meetings as well. They think women are old and mature enough to take care of themselves and hence, do not require a male companion to go with them.[irp]

If they take care of themselves and be responsible, they are good to go! Males working in Saudi Arabia have hectic jobs and might not be able to take off from work hence females can now travel with their friends or even take their children to relax themselves.  However, some women do not agree with this and think a male guardian should always accompany the female to take care of her because traveling alone can be risky and dangerous at times, especially in non-Arab countries.

Source: Arab News


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