Cairo: Saudi Arabia plans to boost women’s rights mainly in issues related to marriage, Saudi newspaper Okaz reported on Tuesday as the country recently adopted dramatic social and legal reforms.
The anticipated steps are aimed at enhancing women’s independence in choosing and unequivocally agreeing on the marriage partner, according to the report.
Scholars and legal experts predict that the reformed regulations will allow a woman to attend her wedding session, check terms of the marriage contract and approve it.
“The woman’s presence in her wedding contract session is part of her rights,”said Qais Bin Mohammad Al Shaikh , an ex-member of the Council of Senior Scholars, which is Saudi Arabia’s top Islamic body.
“She has the right to attend it or delegate her male guardian. Marriage is a lasting partnership between both sides based on the couple's wish to be linked together," he said.
The senior cleric confirmed that a woman's consent is essential for the validity of the marriage.
For his part, Issa Al Gheith, a member of the Saudi advisory Shura Council, pointed out that there are no religious or legal restrictions on the woman's presence of her wedding session to check her marriage contract.
"Her presence is seen as blocking anyone from forging her signature or practising coercion on her even under pressure of shyness," Al Gheith added. He said that the marriage contract has to verify the woman's identity and ask her to sign the contract herself.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia allowed women to drive for the first time in its history, as part of wide social and economic reforms championed by the kingdom's young Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.