Know your rights – Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia


Women’s rights in Saudi Arabia have always been a contentious issue. The World Economic Forum in its 2016 report on the global gender gap ranked Saudi Arabia 141 out of 144 countries for gender parity. However, laws and regulations are changing, as a review of the kingdom’s strict guardianship provisions gets underway. As it turns out, some of the widely practiced restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia are enshrined not in law, but in social practice. Women are beginning to test those limits, but many are not sure of the rules. Can women file for divorce? Sue for child custody? Pursue criminal charges if a brother steals their jewelry? After fielding questions from women confused about their rights, Saudi lawyer Nasreen Issa, created an app for iPhones and Android devices called “Know Your Rights.” It’s in Arabic and English, designed for both Saudis and foreign women living in or visiting the kingdom. There’s an intro video explaining women’s basic rights, and icons to help navigate the legal system, which relies in part on Islamic religious law, or sharia.