Saudi to notify women of divorce by text message

Saudi women are to get divorce confirmation by TEXT message under new rules

Secret divorce is history now! Saudi women to learn they’re single again via…SMS?!

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 measure approved by the justice ministry appears aimed at curbing seemingly rampant cases of men secretly ending marriages without informing their wives. "It is a tiny step, but it is a step in the right direction", she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.

Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer be the last to know of their own divorce, according to reports. In these cases, often referred to as secret divorces, women often end up missing out on alimony payments.

What can Saudi women still not do?

But many Saudi women have taken to social media to push from more freedom, including protesting against the country's strict dress codes with women required to wear an abaya - a loose, all-covering robe - when in public.

However there are many things Saudi women continue to be banned from doing without permission from a male guardian, usually a husband, father, brother or son, including applying for a passport, leaving the country, opening a bank account, leaving prison, getting elected surgery and getting married.

The kingdom has also allowed women to enter sports stadiums, previously a male-only arena, and is pushing for greater participation of women in the workforce as it seeks to diversify its oil-dependent economy. "This system strangles Saudi women", said Abu-Dayyeh.

The Saudi government has denied bin Salman's involvement in the killing.

A group of British parliamentarians and lawyers on Wednesday requested an "urgent response" from the Saudi ambassador by January 9 to allow them to speak with the detained activists.

But in tandem with the reforms, the kingdom has seen a wave of arrests of women activists in recent months as it steps up a crackdown on dissent.

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