Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system grants a woman's father, brother, or husband full control over her life, hindering her freedom of movement and ability to work.
Under it, most women aren't given their basic human rights and instead play a game of chance with how "open-minded" their guardian could be. Thousands of men have abused the system, twisting it in their favor and using its rules to subject women to gross injustices.
While the kingdom is not on the road to abolish the system just yet, it looks like it's trying to govern it better in order to protect women from being victimized by it.
Earlier this week, the kingdom's public prosecution ordered investigations into public cases of people who are "misusing the male guardianship system" in the country.
According to Okaz newspaper, Saudi Arabia's Attorney General Saud Al-Moajab formed a team of investigators tasked with following up on any abuse case reported on social media.
In a statement on the matter, Al-Moajab stressed that after investigations go through, guardians who are found to be abusing the system will face arrest and legal action.
The move is set to curb the number of domestic violence cases reported on social media in recent months, in addition to looking into the experiences of women who have problems with their guardians.
It aims to take action before victims go public online. Those who publish fabricated allegations online will face severe punishments.
While some hailed the move, saying it will help protect Saudi women living under the male guardianship system, others weren't having any of that.
Women in specific had trouble with the news, saying it further consolidates the system in the kingdom and goes against their fight to abolish it. On the other hand, many feared the investigations will only focus on preventing victims from publicly speaking about the abuse they face.
"This is what we need"
"May God grant you more success. We thank King Salman and Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince."
Others explained this point
"What they mean by this is that if there are real abuse cases that went viral on social media, they'll launch official investigations into them and take the appropriate action. But, if reported cases aren't true and aim at just causing public outcry then the person/account who publishes them will be held accountable."
Many Saudi women think this is anything but a move forward
"Don't only focus on social media, look for victims in houses and everywhere else. There are women living in fear and others who don't have access to social media. My male guardian is negligent and refuses to sign any paper I need for travel, marriage and other things. He threatened me not to report him. I want the male guardianship system to be abolished so that I can take my mom and brother and leave him for good."
"I'll give you the best solution... abolish the male guardianship system"
Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system is still in place
In recent months, 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. They want the entire system to fall apart; they want their right to unconditional freedom.