Saudi Arabia's First Female Lawyers

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.