Saudi Arabia's King Salman has issued a directive to government offices that allows women greater access to government services without the consent of a male relative.
Women's rights activists say the memo, which has been circulating in government offices this week, codifies the rights of Saudi women to access a job, higher education or medical procedures, for example, without a male guardian's permission.
There are no specific laws barring women from these services, however some government bodies would request a male give his consent first.
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One Saudi activist, who spoke anonymously for fear of reprisal, says the memo does not appear to change restrictive rules pertaining to the rights of women to obtain a passport or travel abroad without a male relative's permission.
Saudi media reported about the memo Thursday.