The decision by Saudi authorities on Saturday to open sections for women in the Kingdom’s courts will facilitate procedures for females, especially in family and marital cases.
Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani approved the opening of new women’s sections in notary offices, and the creation of special areas to receive women to preserve their privacy.
He also directed the quick preparation of trained female staff to work in women’s sections and notary offices to provide the necessary services with the required speed and accuracy.
Sawsan Al-Qadhi, a Saudi lawyer, believes that there is still a long way to go toward involving women in the Saudi judicial system: “This decision can be helpful in providing assistance for females and provide jobs for female graduates, but its ultimate impact is not enough for us as legal practitioners and lawyers.”
She added, “It is not unusual for women to work in courts in Saudi Arabia; they have always been there, but in charge of minor responsibilities like reconciliation, checking, and guarding. I surely support opening up new fields of work for women, but I believe that women should have decision-making power just like men. We see young Saudi women working everywhere, but the work mechanism always depends on men.”
Asked about the future of women working in courts, she answered that women may get the chance in the future to work as judicial assistants but they may not be able to get positions beyond than that; it has to do with judicial law, which is known to be a complicated issue.
The Ministry of Justice confirmed that these sections will begin with the opening of a number of these women’s sections in notary offices in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Jeddah, and Dammam, according to Abdul Aziz Al-Naser, an adviser to the minister of justice.
Al-Naser said in an interview on Saudi TV that these jobs will be offered to Saudi females with master’s degrees in different fields, administration, Islamic law, and social disciplines.
He added that this step is unprecedented by the ministry, and it will constantly be evaluated to examine the chance for expanding the female staff, whether in number or position.