Ah, Saudi Arabia…where the climate is hot, alcohol is prohibited, oil flows like water and women are free to pursue their life choices — with the permission (and sometimes supervision) of a male, of course. Well, as of recently, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman has lifted such restrictions, allowing women to take advantage of travel, healthcare, and education without a male having a say in what they do.

[Read more on the progress Saudi Arabia is making in women’s equality on Gulf Insider]

“This means women could, in some circumstances, study and access hospital treatment, work in the public and private sector and represent themselves in court without a guardian’s consent, according to Maha Akeel, a women’s rights campaigner and a director at the Jeddah-based Organization of Islamic Cooperation.”

Known as one of the world’s most gender-segregated nations, Saudi Arabia had strict rules of governing what women could and could not do. From driving and traveling to accessing healthcare and even studying, women have needed approval from a male guardian to do things so many of across the rest of the globe take for granted.

Call it a change of heart or a desperation to change the country’s economic growth and climate, the Saudi Arabian King is inching toward a more diverse environment, moving away from its total reliance on oil, and relying more on a balanced workforce with more women contributing to the cause.

Perhaps you haven’t been to Saudi Arabia, but you may have felt oppressed in some way that you weren’t able to pursue what you’d choose to.

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