Quantcast
Connect with us

Saudi women use wedding contracts to assert right to drive

Published

on

Saudi salesman Majd had just begun his wedding preparations when his fiancee sought to enshrine in their marriage contract a condition already guaranteed by law — her right to drive.

Wedding contracts have long been a safety net for brides in the deeply patriarchal society, used to guarantee demands that are often otherwise vulnerable to the whims of the husband or his family.

Such legally binding contracts typically codify anything from the woman’s right to have her own house, hire a maid, or to study or work.

But after the kingdom last year lifted a decades-long ban on female motorists, a popular new condition in the contracts is the right to own and drive a car, according to documents seen by AFP and interviews with wedding clerics.

Majd, 29, who is due to marry this month in his native Dammam in eastern Saudi Arabia, signed off on two demands from his 21-year-old fiancee ?- the right to drive and to work after marriage, according to the contract he shared with AFP.

ADVERTISEMENT

“She said she (would) like to be independent,” explained Majd, who requested his last name be withheld as the discussion was a private family matter.

“I replied: ‘sure, why not?'”

Overturning the world’s only ban on women drivers is the most palpable social change in the ultra-conservative kingdom, which is pursuing a wide-ranging liberalisation drive.

ADVERTISEMENT

To drive, women do not require the explicit approval of their male “guardians” — husbands, fathers and other male relatives, whose permission is needed by women to study, get married and even leave prison.

But it remains unclear whether women have any legal recourse should their guardians prevent them from taking the wheel.

And many in the kingdom appear to be trapped in this troubling scenario.

ADVERTISEMENT

“Some women prefer to include the driving condition in their contract to avoid any marital conflicts” over the issue, said Abdulmohsen al-Ajemi, a Riyadh wedding cleric who received his first such enquiry from the family of an engaged woman last week.

“It’s a way to guarantee the husband will keep his promise.”

A breach of wedding conditions can be used by women as grounds for divorce, clerics say.

ADVERTISEMENT

– ‘I don’t want you’ –

There are no official statistics on the number of such contracts. Saudi Arabia’s justice and media ministries did not respond to AFP’s request for comment.

But Munirah al-Sinani, a 72-year-old housewife in Dhahran, a city in the kingdom’s east, said she had come across two such cases recently among her acquaintances.

ADVERTISEMENT

“If you don’t let me drive, if you say ‘no’, then khallas (finished) — I don’t want you,” Sinani quoted one of the women as telling her potential spouse.

The trend underscores how women appear to be using the contracts to side-step patriarchy ?- and the conditions appear to be getting bolder.

A man in eastern Al-Ahsa city told AFP that during a marriage within his extended family, the bride demanded that her husband-to-be give up smoking.

ADVERTISEMENT

Another woman asked that her husband have no access to her salary and another stipulated that she should not fall pregnant in the first year of marriage, according to cleric Ajemi.

A Saudi woman took social media by storm recently when she posted her wedding contract online.

The document prohibited her husband from taking a second wife, even though polygamy is legal in Islam.

ADVERTISEMENT

Angry online trolls rebuked her husband as “unmanly” for accepting the condition.

Men also sometimes use wedding contracts to stipulate that the “wife will never work” or that she must agree to live with his mother, senior cleric Adel al-Kalbani told AFP.

The new conditions are a sign of the kingdom’s social transformation that appears to be granting women more rights, Kalbani and Ajemi said.

ADVERTISEMENT

But they could also cause strains in marriages in a traditional society where such conditions may be deemed insulting or signify a lack of trust in the husband, typically the head of a household.

Saudi media has already reported a spike in divorce cases in recent years.

“In the past, society did not listen to women. Husbands would turn around and firmly say ‘No’,” cleric Ajemi said.

ADVERTISEMENT

“But now they are listening to the aspirations of women, adapting to their demands.”


Report typos and corrections to [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

Disney heiress who went undercover to Disneyland ‘livid’ at conditions and pay

Published

on

Heiress Abigail Disney went to one of her family's resorts to see conditions for workers herself and was disgusted by what she saw.

In comments to Yahoo News podcast "Through Her Eyes," Disney described how she went to Disneyland in California undercover and found that workers at the resort were treated poorly—and underpaid.

"Every single one of these people I talked to were saying, 'I don't know how I can maintain this face of joy and warmth when I have to go home and forage for food in other people's garbage,'" said Disney.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Ex-Peru president wanted for corruption arrested in the US

Published

on

Former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo was arrested in the United States Tuesday to face extradition to his home country on corruption charges, authorities in the South American nation said.

The 73-year-old is suspected of involvement in the sprawling Odebrecht scandal in which the construction giant paid hundreds of millions of dollars in bribes throughout the continent to secure huge public works contracts.

The Peruvian attorney general's office announced on Twitter that Toledo "was arrested this morning for extradition, in the United States."

Toledo has been formally charged with receiving a $20 million payment from Odebrecht to grant it the tender to build the Interoceanic Highway that links Peru with Brazil.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Comic-Con mines past for future hits on 50th edition

Published

on

A smorgasbord of sequels, prequels and reunions from "Terminator" to "Game of Thrones" awaits thousands of misty-eyed comic book geeks and sci-fi nerds descending on San Diego this week for the world's largest celebration of pop culture fandom.

The 50th edition of Comic-Con International will see 135,000 cosplayers, bloggers, movie executives and humble fans pile into a sweaty convention center for glimpses of their heroes, in town to promote the next mega-hit films, TV shows and comic books.

This anniversary edition promises to be more nostalgia-laden than most -- among those expected to appear are Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton, who will soon reunite on screen for the first time since 1991's "Terminator 2" for Paramount's killer cyborg sequel "Dark Fate."

Continue Reading
 
 
 

Copyright © 2019 Raw Story Media, Inc. PO Box 21050, Washington, D.C. 20009 | Masthead | Privacy Policy | For corrections or concerns, please email [email protected]

close-image