Saudi Arabia now has 102 female licensed lawyers

Saudi Arabia now has 102 female licensed lawyers
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Updated 29 September 2016

Saudi Arabia now has 102 female licensed lawyers

Saudi Arabia now has 102 female licensed lawyers

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Justice released a report on Tuesday pointing to the largest number of licenses to practice law the ministry has given in one year.
In the 1437 hijri year, the ministry issued 512 licenses, 39 of which to female lawyers.
These bring the number of licensed lawyers in the Kingdom to a total of 3,844, of which 102 are women.
The number of lawyers as a ratio to the population of Saudi Arabia is low.
According to the General Authority of Statistics (GAS), Saudi Arabia’s population is 31,015,999, which means that there is one lawyer for every 8,069 people.
At the same time, the number of women lawyers as a percentage of men lawyers is also low. Women make up only 5.3 percent of lawyers in the Kingdom.
Arab News spoke to Bayan Zahran, the first Saudi woman to get a license to practice and the first to open a law office in 2014, about the ministry's report.
“Indeed, the number of lawyers in the Kingdom is low, and the reason the number of women is low is that the idea of practicing law varies among women and men.”
Zahran added: “For men, it might be the risk of starting a business or the low chance of having a job security. It might be simpler to just have a regular job with a stable income than dive into an adventure in such a relatively new sector for Saudi Arabia.”
“In the case of women, the process of gaining the license might be harder even though the same steps are followed in the process by both genders.”
According to the Ministry of Justice, in order to obtain a license to practice law, a graduate has to train at a licensed lawyer office in Saudi Arabia for 3 years or more. Said Zahran: “Bearing in mind that the vast majority of licensed law offices are operated by men, it is indeed much harder for a Saudi woman to train in such an environment than for a man, due to cultural boundaries, of course.”
Overall, Saudi women make up only 10.1 per cent of the Saudi workforce, according to the Labor Force Survey for the second quarter of 2016 performed by GAS.