News Archives

Saudi Arabia Allows Women to Travel without Male 'Guardian' Approval

The Standard, Saudi Arabia, 8/3/2019

Saudi Arabia will allow women to travel abroad without approval from a male ‘guardian’, the Government said on August 2, 2019, ending a restriction that had previously drawn international censure and had prompted protests from women’s rights activists. The new regulation effectively allows women over the age of 21 to obtain passports and leave the country without their guardian's permission. While the landmark reform erodes the longstanding guardianship system that renders adult women as legal minors in Saudi Arabia and allows their ‘guardians’ (husband, father and other male relatives) to exercise arbitrary authority over them; it is worth noting that Saudi Arabia still remains under a conservative government which has in the recent past committed human rights abuses on female dissenters.

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Indian Teens Learn About Same-Sex Couples as Attitudes Shift

Reuters, India, 8/2/2019

Indian schoolchildren are learning about same-sex couples in a new textbook, in the latest sign of shifting attitudes following the decriminalisation of same-sex sexual acts in 2018. Authorities in Maharashtra have revised the syllabus for class 11 students, who are aged about 16, to include same-sex relationships and marriage. The publisher of the revised sociology textbook said it may be the first of its kind to talk about same-sex couples in a school setting. The book breaks away from conventional teachings about family types - traditionally either nuclear or joint - to not only include same-sex parents but also single-parent families, unmarried cohabiting couples and step parents. It also includes a description of same-sex marriage, though same-sex marriage remains illegal in India.

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Law to Protect Men from Being 'Seduced' into Raping Women Proposed in Malaysia's Parliament

The Independent, Malaysia, 8/1/2019

A law to protect men from being ‘seduced’ into raping women has been proposed in the Malaysian parliament. Mohamad Imran Abd Hamid, an MP with the ruling People’s Justice Party, told his fellow politicians that men commit sex crimes because they are ‘seduced’ by women’s actions and clothing. Though his proposal gained the backing of the senate deputy president, activists and non-profit organisations like the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM), have criticised him for placing the onus on victims rather than perpetrators of sexual violence. Putrajaya, Malaysia’s federal administrative centre, is planning to table a Sexual Harassment Bill this year, after a consultation with survivors of sexual harassment and non-governmental organisations. The MP’s proposal are believed to be in response to this bill.

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