Saudi women to be allowed to argue cases in court
Change happens, it happens everywhere all of the time, though the pace of it varies widely.
The Middle East is one of the places that the west has tried in the past to force change, often with disastrous consequences.
Saudi Arabia is gradually changing, not because of military, political or economic coersion, but simply because of it's commercial contact with the rest of the world and the influence of western culture from within, a lot of westerners live and work there.
This latest move by King Abdullah to give women a bigger role in the legal system follows other initiatives, the opening of a mixed sex science and tech university last year met protest from many, but went ahead anyway. When female education in Saudi Arabia first began back in the 1960s, girls attending school had to be protected by soldiers.
So change is happening, it has to if King Abdullah is to realise his ambitions where employment and education are concerned, and I admire his fortitude in this. With four new industrial cities planned, which will create an estimated 1 million new jobs, the present number of young people unemployed (currently running at around 25%) could be set to fall drastically.
There are no plans afoot yet, however, to change the law on women driving, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that has a law to stop them.
Saudi Arabia is planning to bring in a new law to allow women lawyers to argue cases in court for the first time.
Justice Minister Mohammed al-Eissa said the law was part of King Abdullah's plan to develop the legal system.
The law - to be issued "in the coming days" - would allow women to appear in court on family-related cases, including divorce and child custody.
At the moment, they can only work behind the scenes in government and court offices.
The new legislation will also allow Saudi women to complete certain procedures without the presence of a witness.
"In accordance with the new law, women will be able to complete their preliminary procedures with notaries by just presenting their IDs," said Ministry of Justice official Osama al-Mirdas, according to Arab News.
I sincerely hope the desire for change spreads rapidly.
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London, United Kingdom