Saudi Arabian women will be allowed to live alone

Di Valentina Horlander

Riyad. A landmark case in Saudi Arabia has changed the lives of all women living in the country. The Sharia Court amended a law, Paragraph B, Article no. 169, which stated that any adult, unmarried woman was to be given to a male guardian in her household. The amendment now allows any single, widowed, or divorced woman to have the liberty to live on her own without permission from any of her male guardians. More so, families will not be allowed to file lawsuits against their daughters that wish to live alone.

The change to this law was influenced by the Saudi Arabia’s government plan called Vision 2030. Vision 2030 is a government drive to steer Islam into a more moderate version of itself. The initiative was brought forward by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to help diversify the nation. This monumental moment for women’s rights was precedented by the case of Mariam Al Otaibi.

Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman

Al Otaibi was a Saudi Arabian writer that was arrested in 2017 due to her wish to move to the capitol of Riyadh. Her family pressed charges because she acted on her own accordance. She reported household abuse by her father and brothers and for three years she fought the case they had brought against her. It was in July 2020 that the court ruled in her favor and declared that she had the right to choose where to live. Not only did the Sharia Court give women access to more freedom, but also banned any future lawsuits on the subject to enter the courts.

Saudi Arabia has made multiple advancements to women’s rights under Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. In 2018, bans against women driving motor vehicles were lifted. In 2019, women were granted the ability to travel and apply for passports.

Earlier this year, the courts granted women the ability to change their names on identification cards without their male guardian’s consent. These reforms and amendments are a step closer to gender equality in a nation so heavily segregated like Saudi Arabia. Their government is still heavily influenced by conservatives, but the landmark case is a celebration for women living in Saudi Arabia.