Saudi women recently marked the 1,000th day since the launch of the #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen campaign - a movement that aims to show "the world what the life of women in Saudi Arabia is really like under male guardianship laws."
The kingdom's male guardianship system forces women to depend on their fathers, brothers, husbands, or sometimes even son, in nearly all aspects of public life.
One thousand days later, the fight against the patriarchal system continues. More and more women have joined the battle. More campaigns, including #IAmMyOwnGuardian, have surfaced over the years. Some women have even risked their lives on the backdrop of unjust treatment.
Thousands of women, numerous movements, one cause.
"1,000 days and counting"
"If we fall, at least we have each other for support"
"Thank you for raising awareness on this issue among our society. Continuous efforts by people who actively share their stories is the first step towards change. Thank you for making it easy for us [women] to communicate with each other. If we fall, at least we have each other for support."
"The unjust system must fail"
"There is not a glimmer of hope"
"I'm ashamed because it's been a thousand days since the launch of the campaign ... and there is not even a glimmer of hope that the unjust system will fall apart."
"We can do it"
"We will keep fighting for our rights until we get them"
"We will win"
Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system
Women are discriminated against in nearly all aspects of public and private life, mainly due to a legal code influenced by a fundamentalist interpretation of Sharia law.
Saudi women have been demanding a complete and total shut down of the kingdom's male guardianship system for years. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has amended a number of laws in an effort to empower women in the kingdom, including opening municipal elections to female candidates and making women's verbal consent to marriage mandatory.
In 2017, King Salman issued a new royal decree that frees women from their male guardians when it comes to "government services" (i.e. applying for work permits, medical and educational services). The order, however, does not allow women to obtain their own passport or travel abroad without a male relative's permission. That same year, Saudi Arabia lifted its ban on women driving, ending the long-standing policy that has been heavily criticized since 1990. A month later, the kingdom announced women will be able to attend sporting events in stadiums starting 2018.
This all puts a dent in the kingdom's guardianship system, but women rightfully want more. Women want the entire system to fall apart. Will we live to see it happen?