By Martina Margaglio
With the end of secret divorces, Saudi women take a new step forward on the long road to the acquisition of rights. At first glance, receiving a text message from the court notifying the successful termination of the conjugal bond by the husband may seem surreal, light years away from Western standards. But it is a measure that determines the recognition, both from a formal and substantial point of view, of greater dignity for Saudi women. They still do not have full dignity but there has been an improvement that implies the protection of a series of rights that have not been recognized until now and that, therefore, will be reflected concretely on the real living conditions of the female component in Saudi society. A small giant step in the context of a broader process of reform that is also working in the professional sphere driven by the heir to the throne, Mohammed Bin Salman.
This process needs a lot of time to be fully realized, so trivializing the last measure introduced with regarding the divorce or the elimination of the driving ban is a symptom of lack of depth in the analysis of the scope of the change that is taking place place in Saudi Arabia and its repercussions in the rest of the Arab and Muslim world. But that’s not all: not recognizing the fact that a woman can enter a stadium to watch a football match without being accompanied by a man, even if they have to be in separate sectors, is another significant advance, weakens the international support that Riyadh needs to continue smoothly on the road to change, adopting more and more incisive measures.
Therefore, the controversy that accompanies the imminent celebration of the Italian Super Cup in Jeddah goes against the interests of Saudi women and, consciously or not, plays the game of the new pole of world Islam, composed by Qatar, Turkey and Iran, united by the extremist ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood, which aims to destabilize the internal situation in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf States, the Levant and North Africa, to advance with their projects of conquest. The new path initiated by Mohammed Bin Salman, which also includes the fight against extremism, is an obstacle to these projects and was an obstacle before Khashoggi’s case. The ongoing attempts to destabilize the current leadership of Saudi Arabia jeopardize women’s progress towards full rights, and to this also contributes our polemics.