SAUDI ARABIA LICENSES ITS FIRST WOMEN LAWYERS TO PRACTISE IN THE KINGDOM -Arabia has opned up a key profession to wommenSaudi Arabia(Thomson Reuters Foundation)

The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Justice on Sunday licensed the first  four(4) women attorneys in the kingdom to practice  law, according to media and a report in the Sydney Morning Herald. With the licenses, the women can represent clients in court and open law firms in their own names. Prior to this , female law graduates were considered”legal consultants” and could not practise or represent clients on their own. Female law graduates frustrated with the lack of opportunity to practise law launched a social  media campaign last year called”Iam a female lawyer” to pressure authorities and bring attention to the issue. In April, in another sign of progress,Arwa al-Hujaili, a graduate of king Abdulaziz University, was licensed as a legal trainee, allowing her to qualify as a fully licensed lawyer after a three year apprenticeship. ”By licensing a female lawyer,Saudi Arabia has opened up a key profession to women, ”Eric Goldstein, deputy Middle East  director at  Human Rights Watch, said in April”. But for Saudi women to practise law anything close to an equal footing with men , they need protection from discrimination against women in the courtroom and freedom to travel  and drive”. The female lawyers newly licensed on Sunday will still face some obstacles, including getting freedom to travel alone  to court.The Ministry has considered installing a finger- print system to verify the identity of female lawyers in the courtroom without their having to remove their face veils. Courtesy of Reuters on Women’s Rights

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