Saudi Princess Calls For Change

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),; Saudi Arabia: Readers respond to princess’s call for reform, BBC News, (April 18, 2012),

One comment

  1. Justice is the primary ingredient for a stable society, and it must be rendered to everyone regardless of his/her religion, ethnicity, and gender. This aspired stability could be achieved when the majority members of the society are actually satisfied with their functional role in the society. This satisfaction can be achieved by written civil laws that specify the rights and duties of every member, as well as stipulating a legal mechanism that guarantee and safeguard those rights and duties.

    The wave of changing ideas that are coming out from modern media outlets, including social media, is sweeping the entire world. Men and women alike are subjected and introduced to the same new ideas that have not been sorted out, absorbed, and settled, manifesting into standardized common social practices.

    However, women’ issues, particularly in developing countries, have a special consideration, because women role in those countries traditionally has been confined, and this role is now in the process of expanding, but the parameters have not been yet specified by women themselves or their society.

    These new ideas ought to be sorted out to conform to reasonable religious values and acceptable traditions; otherwise we would have a society without an identity. And while men and women are searching for a definitive role in a becoming society, a distinction between roles and rights ought to be made. Women have a specific role, and so do men. But rights are for everyone

    We all hope and aspire for a stable prosperous Saudi Arabia.

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