Saudi Arabia may still be one of the worst countries for women in live in, but things appear to be getting a little better for the female population of the Middle Eastern monarchy, as it continues to amend laws that have dominated them for a very long time.
Although its pace is still rather slow, the country’s drive toward liberalization, which is largely credited to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is still a welcoming sign of the coming times — and needless to say, the public seems excited.
Just recently, the Ministry of Justice in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom reportedly abolished its so-called “the house of obedience” article in the marriage law. The draconian ruling granted men the right to force his wife to return to their home against her will. In other words, due to this law, women were forced to stay in failed marriages and forced to go back to their husbands against their will.
As reported by the Saudi newspaper Okaz, a woman who refuses to return to her husband will face two options: either seek a divorce through the court and maintain some of her rights or file for a separation that would strip her of a marital bond. In the latter case, the woman would have to return her dowry.
In case of divorces, the Saudi legislators said they will now refer to article 75 of the laws that states “sentences forcing a woman to return to her marital home shall not be applied.”
The country’s social media users had a lot to say about the latest amendment.
Finally 👌🏻— Lian AL-Eleewy (@LinanEE) February 21, 2018
#بيت_الطاعة— الـهــنــوف ســـالـم (@HanoofsAl) February 21, 2018
هذا قرار صائب جداً ، واتمنى تلتفتون حق اشياء ثانيه برضو .
“This is an excellent decision.”
مره مبسوطه الحمدلله والله يخليلنا الملك سلمان 🙏🏿🇸🇦. #بيت_الطاعة— 🇷🇺🇸🇦Гада.غاده سٌليمان حمد (@giiiiuc) February 21, 2018
“I am elated.”
الحمدلله ❤️ قانون متخلف لا يليق بِنَا ✋️ #بيت_الطاعه— Nada 🌸🇸🇦 (@AlharbyNada) February 21, 2018
"Thank God, this regressive law does not suit us"
However, according to a Saudi lawyer, the social media is over-exaggerating the cancelation of the law.
“People are talking about this in a way that makes it seem as if this house of obedience is an actual place that exists in Saudi Arabia. They're describing it as a place where women are taken if they ask for a divorce and that is absolutely not true,” the lawyer explained. “In previous years, if a husband refused to amicably divorce his wife, the woman would be asked to return to her marital home voluntarily at first. If she refused to do so after being spoken to three times, she would then be escorted back to her marital home by police officers.”
Well, it is still progress.
Thumbnail/Banner Credits: Reuters, Faisal Al Nasser