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Project January 5, 2016

Saudi Arabia's First Female Lawyers

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Media file: pioneer_female_cashiers._image_by_caryle_murphy_jeddah_2010jpg.jpg
Pioneer female supermarket cashiers. Despite widespread objections from some religious clerics and a significant part of Saudi society, the government is supporting women working. Retail is a big opportunity and it is now common to see women working as store clerks and cashiers. However, only women or men accompanied by a female relative, can use the check-outs staffed by women. Image by Caryle Murphy. Jeddah, 2010.
In 2004, Saudi Arabia introduced reforms allowing women's colleges and universities to offer degree programs in law. The first female law students graduated in 2008, but, for several years after that, they could not practice. In 2013, the Saudi justice ministry began permitting female lawyers to appear in court and, since then, 67 have earned the license that allows them to do so.
Though their numbers are small, and new legal rights for Saudi women are not a subject of mainstream public discussion, Katherine Zoepf reports that the emergence of this new cohort of women lawyers appears to have sparked growing a growing awareness, among ordinary Saudi women, of the legal rights they do have, and an increasing willingness to claim these rights.

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