Saudi women to be notified about divorce via SMS

Marsha Scott
January 9, 2019

The initiative came about after concerns a growing number of Saudi men were not telling their wives they were divorced.

Women will be able to check their marital status on the ministry's website and look at details of any probate certificates.

The new regulation is an attempt to end secret divorces in a country where women have notoriously few rights. "At least women will know whether they are divorced or not".

Last year, Saudi Arabia in a historic move lifted a decades-old driving ban on women. Yet, there were cases in which men were secretly getting a divorce without their wives knowledge.

In June previous year, women celebrated taking the wheel for the first time in decades as the kingdom overturned the world's only ban on female motorists.

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.

The new measures have been hailed by the ministry as a positive step to protect the rights of women.

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"The new measure ensures women get their [alimony] rights when they're divorced", Saudi attorney Nisreen al-Ghamdi told Bloomberg.

"It is one of her most basic rights to be informed if the husband divorces her".

Other recent reforms in the kingdom include women being allowed to attend football matches and work in jobs traditionally reserved for men.

"However, before the male guardianship system is reformed or ended, we can not say we're completely free", she added.

However, women still remain subject to male guardianship laws.

A young Saudi woman reportedly ran away from her family while on vacation in Kuwait last week and boarded a plane to Thailand, where she is now being detained, claiming her family was abusive.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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