Target: Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran
Goal: Commend female lawyer’s brave step to take a stand for women’s issues in the courtroom
Feminists and women’s rights activists the world over have long been critical of Saudi Arabian policies relating to women. Recently, however, the Kingdom has made significant progress, from a 2011 breast cancer awareness gathering that captured international attention as the largest human pink ribbon ever, to the campaign against and ban on domestic violence in 2013. To start the new year right, Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran, the first woman ever licensed to practice law in the Kingdom, officially opened the first female law firm in Jeddah.
Al-Zahran had years of experience working as a legal consultant for Saudi prisons before she appeared for the first time in the General Court in Jeddah to represent a client toward the tail end of 2013. At the opening ceremony, which was well-attended by local officials and colleagues, she commented to Arab News, “I believe women lawyers can contribute a lot to the legal system. This law firm will make a difference in the history of court cases and female disputes in the Kingdom.” She hopes that the firm, consisting currently of just four lawyers, will grow quickly, noting that problems specific to women often cannot be discussed with or defended by male lawyers, and that it was previously difficult to find a female lawyer. This sentiment was echoed by a colleague in attendance, as well as her father, who said, “We are very proud of our daughter who stands firm for protection of women’s rights.” The women will still be required to abide by Sharia law clothing restrictions in the courtrooms, but this is a huge victory for all women in Saudi Arabia.
By signing this petition, you are thanking Bayan Al-Zahran for putting her courage and determination to work on Saudi courts, and helping women to find the representation they need and deserve. You are encouraging her to continue expanding her firm and reaching out to Saudi women in the fight for women’s voices to be heard.
Dear Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran,
I am inspired by your bravery and hard work in the service of letting women’s voices be heard in Saudi courtrooms. I hope that news of your firm also inspires the girls and young women of Saudi Arabia to seek careers in law, where you have paved the way for them, and to help other women in other ways.
Thank you for your continued work in the liberation of female voices and the expansion of women’s rights. Thank you for being an inspiration to me and so many others in communities where women need our help.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons