In a historical moment for Saudi Arabia, lawyer Jamilah Al-Atram has become the first woman to register as a legal practitioner in the country’s Qassim province. Speaking to Saudi Gazette, Al-Atram explained that she trained to be a lawyer and a public notary.
“The Ministry of Justice aims to empower more women to join the ministry and serve the country. We need more women to practice law, which is now a male-dominated field. There is no discrimination between men and women in the courtroom. I encourage more women to pursue the legal career to represent all layers of society,” said Al-Atram.
As the Kingdom continues to initiate reforms aimed at empowering women and provide more opportunities for women to join various sectors, the number of female lawyers has jumped significantly over the last few years. In 2013, reports show that there were only 10 licensed female lawyers in Saudi Arabia. That number jumped to 221 women this year who are officially registered with the ministry and are representing clients in the nation’s courts.
Earlier this year, Saudi Gazette reported that the number of registered Saudi female lawyers increased by 29 percent, bringing the total number of women legal practitioners up to 209 in the fourth and final quarter of 2017. In addition, the Authority of the Saudi Lawyers noted that there were 8,766 law graduates currently under training in 2018, 6,835 of which were men and 1,931 women.
As Saudi Arabia continues to expand and diversify its economy away from oil under its national Vision 2030 plan, the government has looked to its legal apparatus, calling on the Ministry of Justice to improve its processes and lower bureaucracy in favor of individuals and businesses. Many of the ministry’s reforms have included the establishment of specialized courts that require legal practitioners with specialized skillsets.