Saudi women are being kept in perpetual childhood so male relatives can exercise “guardianship” over them, the Human Rights Watch group has said.
The New York-based group says Saudi women have to obtain permission from male relatives to work, travel, study, marry or even receive health care.
Their access to justice is also severely constrained, it says.
The group says the Saudi establishment sacrifices basic human rights to maintain male control over women.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.
Saudi clerics see the guardianship of women’s honour as a key to the country’s social and moral order.