Saudi women to be notified of divorce by text message

Saudi women to be notified of divorce by text message

Starting today, divorce courts in the Middle Eastern kingdom will be required by law to notify women by text message on rulings which confirm their divorce.

Saudi courts will use an SMS or text message to let women know when they are divorced.

But Saudi lawyers say the measure will at least end what are known as secret divorces - cases where men end a marriage without telling their wives.

The move is aimed at ensuring that women are not divorced without their knowledge and providing them their alimony rights.

Included in the message will be the divorce certificate number and the name of the relevant court where the women can pick up the documentation.

"In most Arab countries, men can just divorce their wives", Suad Abu-Dayyeh, of the human-rights group Equality Now, told Reuters.

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"This is a huge step forward [for] divorced women", he told the Gazette.

Young women wearing the traditional abaya walk past a sign as they help to organize an outdoor educational driving event for women on June 21, 2018 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Nouf also explained that though several strides in women's rights have been made in recent months, there's still a long way to go before Saudi women win all their rights.

But women are still shackled by a male guardianship system that requires them, according to Human Rights Watch, to receive approval to apply for a passport, travel outside the country, study overseas on a government scholarship, get married or even exit prison.

"The male guardianship system is a core issue and it must be dismantled", she added.

However, women still remain subject to male guardianship laws. "All it allows for is a new technological notification system for what is already a very outdated discriminatory system against women".

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