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The Boston Globe

World

Saudi king OK’s women on council

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — Saudi Arabia’s king granted women seats on the country’s top advisory council for the first time on Friday, giving them a long-awaited toehold in the ultraconservative kingdom’s male-dominated political system.

King Abdullah’s decrees come against the backdrop of heavy restrictions on women, who are not allowed to travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced, or gain admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian. Recently, airport authorities were instructed to send text messages to the phones of male guardians — husbands, fathers, or brothers — with information about the movements of their wives, daughters, or sisters.

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