Saudi Arabia continues to amaze us, but this time in a positive way.
The country has opened its first female law firm, whose focus is to protect women’s rights in the Kingdom.
Bayan Mahmoud Al Zahran, the founder of the firm and three other female lawyers Jihan Qurban, Sarra Al Omari and Ameera Quqani were granted licenses to practice law in Saudi Arabia just three months ago.
These pioneers have set up their offices in Saudi Arabia’s port city of Jeddah.
In a country where women can’t drive, are discouraged from perusing professional careers, are not allowed to venture out without male guardians and denied access to libraries, the establishment of a women’s rights law firm shows monumental progress.
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Now Saudi women can seek help and legal aid from women who will be better understand their problems, compared to men,and might be more likely to fight for their client’s rights with passion as well.
“I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system. This law firm will make a difference in the history of court cases and female disputes in the Kingdom. I am very hopeful and thank everyone who supported me in taking this historical step,”Zahran told Arab News.
The lawyer also stressed that she is eager to work on labor cases and business disputes involving women but will work with both genders.
“Our activity is not restricted to cases involving only women. Saudi Arabia’s legal system treats men and women equally and a lawyer has the right to represent men and women,”she added.
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Bayan Al-Zahran was also the first Saudi woman to practice law and appear in court in a Saudi Court (November 2013). However, she has been working for years as a legal consultant and has represented dozens of people in criminal as well as civil cases.
People have been reacting very positively about the milestone:
Saudi takes another important step in women rights protection as first female law firm opens in Jeddah http://t.co/Uhkjm12d9L— NL Ambassador Riyadh (@LaurensWesthoff) January 3, 2014
First female law firm opens in Saudi Arabia http://t.co/mhfXHSlrbD » Good for them. Saudi men just do not understand women's issues.— Roger Ivan Hart (@rohart) January 3, 2014
This is a great step forward for Saudi women who constantly fight an uphill battle to improve their freedom in the fiercely conservative Kingdom. However, things are changing gradually under the current leadership of King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.
So this law firm is one in several steps forward in recent few years
His rule has sworn in the country’s first female members in the Advisory Council last year. The King also granted women the right to votein 2012 and provided sports facilities for them in 2013.The year before that Saudi Arabia sent its first female athletes to the London Olympics. In 2010 when over a dozen women were arrested for driving and sentenced to lashings, he revoked the verdict.
For women’s rights, Saudi Arabia has a long way to go but recent changes made under King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud are a good start.