In an opinion to the BBC, Saudi Princess Basma Bint Saud Bin Abdulaziz calls for five specific reforms in Saudi Arabia to improve the status of women living there. She wants (1) a “proper constitution that treats all men and women on an equal footing before the law,” (2) reforms to the divorce laws to make it easier for a woman to get a divorce and retain custody of the children, (3) an overhaul of the education system which will encourage youth to think freely, innovate and use their initiative for the betterment of our society, (4) a complete reform of social services for women to support women’s rights, and (5) to do away with the “Mahram,” the male chaperone who must accompany them when traveling outside of the home.
When the BBC allowed for citizen response to the Princess’s opinion, they received a “huge response,” many which were supportive. Some, however, opposed her ideas. One opposing opinion, in particular, argued that the Princess was “trying to superimpose Western secular liberalism on Islam and trying to push that as a system” for Saudi Arabia. Another remarked that a lot of progress has occurred, and reminded readers that consider that less than 90 years ago the country was torn apart by tribal conflicts and harsh living conditions. This opinion piece by the Princess shows that change, albeit slow, is taking place – the fact that the Princess felt empowered to speak out on behalf of the women in her country provides awareness for others to further support the rights of women living in Saudi Arabia.
See Saudi princess: What I’d change about my country, BBC News, (April 8, 2012), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17446831; Saudi Arabia: Readers respond to princess’s call for reform, BBC News, (April 18, 2012), http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-17726934.