According to Haaretz.com, a young Muslim divorcée, Mahasen Saber, has started a radio station in Cairo that is designed to help Muslim women in Arab countries circumnavigate their divorce. The station is aptly called Divorcees’ Radio and you can read more about it here: http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1132196.html
According to Haaretz.com:
The online radio station aims to empower divorced women in the Arab countries and improve their status. Saber told Al-Arabiya Television she got the idea for the radio station because of her workplace experience following her divorce. “They told me that from now on, as I was divorced, my situation was sensitive, and it would be better if I did not move around where there were men in the office,” she said.
The first broadcasts brought sharp criticism from men, who charged the station’s purpose was to instruct women how to rebel against men. Saber overcome the charge by adding programs about divorced men and children who living in single-parent families.
Saber, who was married for three years, went through a tough time with her own divorce and felt the stigma of being a Muslim woman in a Muslim country who was divorced. She started a blog before she graduated to the radio station. She also initiated a protest for divorced women in Egypt.
She initiated a protest of women outside the Egyptian parliament calling for changes in the personal status law. Under the existing law, a woman can demand a divorce but is likely to lose in her property and the dowry paid for her.
It was quite surprising to learn how high the divorce rates were when compared to, say, Eastern countries like India and China. In Qatar, the divorce rate is about 35% according to the article. In Saudi Arabia it is 24%. That is much higher than expected, no? Still, it seems women are severely harmed in an economic sense with divorce in these regions. They tend to lose all property rights and the husbands get out of the marriages with only a verbal promise to give the wife some of the marital assets. Needless to say, often times, that doesn’t happen. This problem seems to proliferate in most Muslim countries in the region. But change is occurring if the linked article is accurate. It states in part:
Interestingly, the most advanced women’s rights law among the Arab countries was legislated in Morocco in 2004; it gives women the right to get divorced – with defined restrictions but without losing their property. It obliges men who divorce their wives to pay them their part of the property and does not make do with an oral promise but demands actual payment before the divorce is approved.
Well, kudos to Morocco! Let’s hope more countries in the Arab world start to follow suit sooner rather than later.