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"Now at least it opens the door for discussion on the guardian system," Ms Akeel told the Thomson Reuters Foundation."Women are independent and can take care of themselves." It comes as the latest in a series of moves in Saudi Arabia to include women more in the workforce as the kingdom moves to diversify its economy and cut reliance on oil.
Women can now vote in municipal elections, work in some retail and hospitality jobs and were allowed to compete in the Olympics for the first time in 2012.
The kingdom is now one of 45 countries sitting on a panel “promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women," according to the UN.
The ultra-conservative Islamic kingdom has a state policy of gender segregation between men and women who are not related.
Organisers said women were involved in the launch event, but that they were obliged to sit in a separate room.
The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Global Gender Gap report ranked Saudi Arabia 134 out of 145 countries for gender equality.