Saudi Gazette report
REYKJAVÍK, Iceland — Dr. Hanan Al-Ahmadi, assistant speaker of the Saudi Shoura Council, delved into the significant strides made by Saudi Arabia, especially under the umbrella of Saudi Vision 2030.
This visionary agenda, launched in 2016, has been instrumental in shaping a new narrative for women’s rights, equal opportunity, and comprehensive development in the Kingdom.
Dr. Al-Ahmadi participated at the sixth annual Global Forum for Women Leaders, organized by the Parliament of Iceland in partnership with Women Political Leaders (WPL).
The forum, a gathering of parliamentary and leadership representatives from across the globe, witnessed a pivotal moment during the session titled “Voice of Parliaments.”
Co-chaired by Speaker of Althingi, Birgir Ármannsson, Obiageli “Oby” Ezekwesili, chair of WPL, and Silvana Koch-Mehrin, president and founder of WPL, the session featured Dr. Al-Ahmadi, whose speech put the spotlight on Saudi Arabia’s transformative journey in women’s empowerment.
Dr. Al-Ahmadi underscored the commendable progress Saudi Arabia has made in empowering women as indispensable contributors to the nation’s development journey.
She emphasized that the empowerment of women and the enhancement of their leadership roles are critical factors in establishing comprehensive and balanced development — an issue of paramount importance for parliamentary and legislative councils worldwide.
“Empowerment of women and the promotion of women’s leadership is a major concern for parliaments and legislative councils globally, and it stands as a top priority for Saudi Arabia, especially since the launch of Saudi Vision 2030.
“This transformative agenda, initiated in 2015, aims to usher in significant changes across economic, social, and cultural dimensions.”
The assistant speaker continued to highlight Saudi Arabia’s remarkable strides in women’s empowerment, noting that the nation has become a top performer according to The World Bank’s 2020 report titled “Women, Business and Law.”
Dr. Al-Ahmadi mentioned that Saudi Arabia has not only closed the gender gap in education but has reversed it in higher education.
She articulated: “Women’s employment has nearly doubled in the past five years, surpassing the 2030 target.
“Today, Saudi women hold 41% of senior and middle management positions in the business sector, along with leadership roles in government and the Shoura Council.”
Dr. Al-Ahmadi acknowledged the multifaceted factors contributing to Saudi Arabia’s success, emphasizing political will as a driving force embedded in Saudi Vision 2030.
The nation has established institutional mechanisms and applied the concept of budgeting for equality through initiatives like the “Women’s Empowerment Initiative” launched in the 2023 budget.
“At the legislative level, Saudi Vision has ushered in a historic legislative revolution, formulating new laws and supportive policies to ensure equal opportunity, promote women’s economic participation, and protect women’s rights.
“Throughout this journey, we have maintained respect for societal values and culture, aiming to protect our identity as Saudi, Muslim, Arab women,” she added.
Dr. Al-Ahmadi concluded by acknowledging that the journey toward empowering women and promoting their leadership roles is ongoing.
She recognized the unique challenges each society faces and underscored the vulnerabilities of women, particularly those enduring the hardships of armed conflict, citing the plight of women in occupied Palestine facing extreme conditions amidst continuous military escalation.