Saudi Women Can Now Be Divorced Via Text

Jamie Beck, Fine Arts and Slideshow Editor

Women in Saudi Arabia are now being informed via text that their marriage is over, under a new regulation aimed towards ending the practice of secret divorce, issued on Sunday January 6, 2019. The men in the kingdom were able to independently decide to leave their wives without notifying them first. Women do not need to appear in court for their divorces to be issued, according to a 2016 Human Rights Watch report on the country’s male guardianship system. The way the women can get a hold of their divorce papers or see them is either checking the marital status on the ministry’s website or by visiting the court to actually get the

papers themselves.

Saud Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East and North Africa consultant for gender rights group Equality Now, called the new measure “a step in the right direction.” She also explained, “At least women will know whether they are divorced or not.” But Abu-Dayyeh said knowing about the divorce doesn’t mean a woman will get alimony or the custody of her children. The move comes as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has started to give women more rights in the kingdom, which included allowing them to enter sports stadiums, vote in local elections, drive for the first time and also take a greater role in the workforce.