Since 2018, landmark rulings completely shifted Saudi Arabia. The latest? Single, divorced or widowed women are finally able to live independently without permission from their father or any male guardian.
Prior to the ruling, living in a home on their own was practically impossible for Saudi women. Without approval from their male guardian, women were unable to secure accommodation on their own, and could have faced prosecution if they’d done so.
The legal amendment made by the Kingdom allows women the right to choose where they live. “A woman’s guardian can report her only if he has evidence proving she committed a crime,” reads the ruling. The amendment stipulates that families can no longer file lawsuits against their daughters who choose to live alone, as reported by a Makkah newspaper.
The move comes after Saudi writer Mariam Al Otaibi won a case against her family who filed a report against her under an old “absenteeism” law, stating that she fled her family home. After a three-year-long legal battle, which ended last July, the 32-year-old won a judgment after a court historically ruled that she maintains the right to choose where to live.
The “absenteeism” law has officially been scrapped. The new legal text also stipulates that “if a woman is sentenced to a jail term, she will not be handed over to her guardian after completing her term.”