Saudi Arabia Allows Foreign Women and Men to Share Hotel Rooms as Part of Social Reforms

Saudi Arabia recently announced it will allow foreign men and women to share hotel rooms without proving they’re related. This is part of the softening of laws in Saudi Arabia, in an effort to attract tourists and move away from an economy dependent on oil. The country has a goal of 100 million annual visits by 2030.

There have many changes to laws and social codes in Saudi Arabia, including laws lifting previous bans on women driving, booking hotel rooms alone or traveling alone.

The dress code has also relaxed, with women no longer needing to wear the traditional long black robes. These social reforms have been praised but don’t eliminate the criticism of its ongoing conflict in Yemen, the jailing of activists and the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The Realist Woman’s take:

I think Saudi Arabia’s reforms so far are a step in the right direction and can be credited to the crown prince and his vision. But it’s hard to forget the suffering of the Yemeni people at the hands of Saudi Arabia, as well as the Saudi activists sitting in jail, many of them women. 

The killing of Khashoggi is something that remains on the minds of many when they think of Saudi Arabia. His murder was brutal, grotesque and shocking. Yet, the United States and many other countries, businesses and billionaires continue to do business with the kingdom. 

All in all, the reforms are great, but the crimes are important and shouldn’t be ignored.