Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman has announced that women need not dress in the black abaya often seen as their expected attire throughout the kingdom.
Stating this ahead of his US visit, Mohammed bin Salman, in an interview to US news channel CBS, indicated that Sharia law did not dictate that women wear the traditional garment but they could choose their clothing, so long as it is respectful.
He said Sharia law stipulates that women wear decent and respectful clothing just like men. The Statement of the reformist Crown Prince is being seen as yet another progressive step towards women’s right.
In the conservative Saudi Kingdom, women are expected to traditionally cover in the black traditional attire. However, it is not clear if these statements signal a change in the enforcement of women’s dress code in the Saudi Kingdom.
Under Crown Prince’s direction, the kingdom has moved ahead with plans for women to enter the workforce by opening up previously barred jobs such as soldiers, immigration staff and criminal investigators. A royal decree issued last year gave rights to women to drive, which will come into force this summer. The women are now allowed to attend mixed sporting events as well.