The Saudi Ministry of Justice has abolished the so-called “house of obedience” law which forced a wife to return to her husband’s home against her will.
Saudi’s Okaz newspaper reported that the move was an effort to preserve the dignity of women.
The paper quoted informed sources as saying that the new decision offers women who do not wish to remain married two options: either divorce or be legally separated.
All cases which were being considered under the law are now null and void.
Saudi has witness numerous changes to the rights of women over the past few months, most recently Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman reigned in the Kingdom’s religious police, which was followed by a new religious proclamation by a senior cleric who said that the traditional long robes worn by Saudi women was not necessary. Women have also been permitted to enter stadiums and attend concerts and more significantly they now have the freedom to open their own business without the permission of a male guardian.
While political reform in Saudi Arabia seems a long way away, the Kingdom’s programme for social change is moving at break-neck speed. Bin Salman, the de facto ruler of the country, sees transformation of the role of women within the historically conservative society as being central to his modernisation agenda.
The trend was set with the lifting of the ban on women drivers to universal applause. In a drive to distance the country from its past, Bin Salman introduced further social reforms, which critics have said are nothing more than a cosmetic makeover to conceal political repression in the country and appease the West.