First News
Volume:7, Number:42
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Around The World 2

A Woman's Plea for Help Exposes Risks Faced by Runaways

A young Saudi woman's plea for help after she was stopped at an airport in the Philippines en route to Australia where she planned to seek asylum has triggered a firestorm on social media and drawn attention to the plight of female runaways. For runaway Saudi women, fleeing can be a matter of life and death, and they are almost always doing so to escape male relatives. Under Saudi Arabia's law, a male guardianship system bars women from traveling abroad, obtaining a passport, marrying, or even leaving prison without the consent of a male relative. However, most Muslim-majority countries do not have similar restrictive guardianship laws. The mystery around what triggered Dina Ali Lasloom's cry for help has only added to concerns for her safety. This is despite gains made in recent years for Saudi women, including the right to run for office and vote in local elections in 2015, and a government effort to increase women's participation in the workforce.

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