“Secret divorces” in Saudi Arabia: the text messages that women in the country will receive on their cell phones to end this practice

“Secret divorces” in Saudi Arabia: the text messages that women in the country will receive on their cell phones to end this practice

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Until recently, Saudi women were often the last to know that their husband had divorced them. They made the decision without telling you.

But the authorities of Saudi Arabia hope that it changes with a law that took effect from this Sunday and that it has like aim to end this practice, well-known popularly like “secret divorces”.

According to the new regulation, courts must notify women through text messages sent to their cell phone if their husbands divorce them.

The objective is that, being fully aware of their marital status, women can better protect their rights, such as receiving a support pension.

Women with burka and cell phones in Saudi Arabia
Copyright of the AFP / GETTY image
Image caption Many women in the country do not know their marital status.

Alimony

Last year, a decades-old law banning women from driving in Saudi Arabia was nullified.

However, a large number of male guardianship laws still apply in the country.

“The new measure guarantees that women get their alimony rights when they are divorced,” Saudi lawyer Nisreen al-Ghamdi told Bloomberg.

“It also ensures that any power issued before the divorce is not misused.”

Many women have filed appeals to the courts after their husbands divorced them without their knowledge, lawyer Samia al-Hindi told local newspaper Okaz .

It is said that this new step is part of economic and social reforms promoted by the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman , which include allowing them to attend football matches and do jobs traditionally reserved for men.

Two women in a stadium in Riyadh.
Copyright of the AFP image
Image caption In September hundreds of women were allowed to enter a sports stadium in Riyadh in an act to celebrate the national day of Saudi Arabia.

What things Saudi women still can not do?

There are many things that women in Saudi Arabia still can not do without the permission of a “guardian” man , which is usually their husband, father, brother or son.

Some are:

  • Request passports
  • Travel abroad
  • Get marry
  • Open a bank account
  • Open certain businesses
  • Undergo elective surgeries (non-emergency)
  • Get out of jail

The guardianship system has helped create one of the most unequal countries in the Middle East and the world.

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Rava is an online news portal providing recent news, editorials, opinions and advice on day to day happenings in Pakistan.

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