A woman walks past a Giorgio Armani shop at an upscale shopping center on June 23, 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government, under Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, is phasing in an ongoing series of reforms to both diversify the Saudi economy and to liberalize its society. The reforms also seek to empower women by restoring them basic legal rights, allowing them increasing independence and encouraging their participation in the workforce. Photo Credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Society Saudi Arabia2. July 2021

These Arab Women Fought for Independence – and They Finally Have It!

Women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia won an important battle since the authorities introduced a legal amendment that allows them to live independently and without the consent of a male guardian.

Under the new legal text of the “Law of Procedure before Sharia Courts”, “an adult woman has the right to choose where to live. A woman’s guardian can report her only if he has evidence proving she committed a crime. If a woman is sentenced to a jail term, she will not be handed over to her guardian after completing her term.”

This amendment follows the 2020 historic ruling in favor of Saudi writer Mariam Al Otaibi, 32, where it was stated that she had “the right to choose where to live.” Consequently, “families can no longer file lawsuits against their daughters who choose to live alone,” says lawyer Naif Al Mansi, since the absenteeism law has been amended. So adult single, divorced, or widowed women can now live on their own, in separate accommodation, without seeking approval or permission from their father, or any other male guardian for that matter!

Gulf News

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