Saudi Arabia

What "Optional" Means In Saudi Arabia

Good news, but not necessarily as good as it sounds at first.


Agence France-Presse reports:

Alt-text. The final frontier.

Since November 2012, Saudi women's male guardians have been sent an SMS message informing them when women under their custody leave, even if they are travelling together.

The programme, which was strongly criticised by women rights activists, "has been suspended due to some observations," passports department spokesman Ahmad al-Laheedan was quoted by Arab News as saying.

Sounds like good news. Hopefully they'll not just suspend it but kill it altogeth—

"It will undergo amendment," he said, indicating that the system that compounded constraints on women in the ultra-conservative kingdom, could return as optional.

Well, as long as women can opt out, I suppose that's still an improvemen—

Men would only receive an SMS if they requested to be informed.

Oh. That sort of "optional."