Download Our New Mogul App Worldwide

Become your best self with a community of real women around the world who have your back.

Download Now

Saudiwomentobetoldofdivorcebytextmessageundernewlaw

Equality Now
Equality Now Equality Now
2mo International Story
Saudi women to be told of divorce by text message under new law

The new law, that came into effect on Sunday, was seen as a way to end secret divorces and ensure women are fully aware

By Lin Taylor and Heba Kanso

LONDON/BEIRUT, Jan 6 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Women in Saudi Arabia will be notified by text message if they are divorced under a new law designed to protect them from having their marriage ended without their knowledge, the government said on Sunday.

The new law, that came into effect on Sunday, was seen as a way to end secret divorces and ensure women are fully aware of their marital status so they can protect rights such as alimony.

The move comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has started to give women more rights in the conservative kingdom, which included lifting a ban on women driving last year.

"Saudi courts have started to send such (divorce) notifications ... a step aimed at protecting the rights of female clients," the Saudi Ministry of Justice said in a statement on their website.

It said women could check their marital status on the ministry's website or visit the relevant court to get a copy of divorce papers.

"In most Arab countries, men can just divorce their wives," said Suad Abu-Dayyeh from global rights group, Equality Now.

"At least women will know whether they are divorced or not. It is a tiny step, but it is a step in the right direction," she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

But Abu-Dayyeh said knowing about a divorce does not mean a woman is guaranteed to get alimony or the custody of her children.

In recent years women in Saudi Arabia have been allowed to enter sports stadiums for the first time, vote in local elections, and take a greater role in the workforce as Saudi Arabia tries to diversify its oil-dependent economy.

But many Saudi women have taken to social media to push from more freedom, including protesting against the country's strict dress codes with women required to wear an abaya - a loose, all-covering robe - when in public.

Campaigners said the main sticking point remained Saudi Arabia's guardianship policy, whereby women must have permission from a male relative to work, travel, marry, and even get some medical treatment.

"The male guardianship system is a core issue and it must be dismantled. It controls women in each and every step of their lives. This system strangles Saudi women," said Abu-Dayyeh.

Although many have hailed the Saudi government's reforms, these have been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent with about a dozen female activists arrested.

In November, rights groups Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accused Saudi Arabia of torturing and sexually harassing some detained female activists - allegations denied by a Saudi official to Reuters.

A group of British parliamentarians and lawyers on Wednesday requested an "urgent response" from the Saudi ambassador by Jan. 9 to allow them to speak with the detained activists.

This article originally appeared on Thomson Reuters Foundation January 6th 2019 

For details of Equality Now's current campaigns, please visit www.equalitynow.org and find us on Facebook @equalitynoworg and Twitter @equalitynow


0 replies

As a guest user, you can still reply to conversations. Just press the "Reply" button below, which will prompt you to sign in or sign up on Mogul before your Reply posts.


Equality Now
Equality Now

Equality Now was founded in 1992 with the mission of using legal advocacy to protect and promote the human rights of women and girls. For more than 25 years, we have been using the law to create a just world for women and girls. By directing global public and media attention on individual cases [...]

Report this post
Report this post

Want your dream job or internship?

Join the women worldwide who discovered their next opportunity on Mogul.

Get My Dream Job Now

Trending Jobs

See All Jobs

Trending Marketplace

See All Marketplace

Trending Questions

See All Questions