Saudi Gazette report
JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia is celebrating its 92nd National Day at a time when Saudi women are making giant strides in all walks of life and reaping the fruits of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
The empowerment of women is at the heart of the Vision 2030 reform program, ever since its launching in 2016, with bringing about far-reaching social and economic transformation where women have an equal role and share along with their male counterparts.
The Saudi women have become part and parcel of landmark initiatives that are commensurate with the culture of the Saudi society and the breathtaking changes of the modern era. This is made possible thanks to the support of the wise leadership ever since the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The leadership has given care to everything that spurs the national development wheel on the principle of equality and equal opportunities, starting with granting women the right to education, and enabling her to take up higher positions.
The Saudi women have become the focus of the world’s attention as they started enjoying full royal confidence in shouldering key responsibilities and playing their role as a partner citizen in building the nation and its organs despite the challenges and obstacles.
The Saudi government adopted a cohesive method of equality between men and women of society in various fields by enhancing women’s rights, support systems and care programs, and thus improving their work environment in all sectors.
The government introduced reforms dedicated to the promotion of women’s engagement in economic development by setting an equal age for both genders, preventing gender discrimination in terms of wages, occupation, work field and hours, and enabling women to incorporate and practice commercial business without obtaining prior consent.
Undoubtedly, the empowerment that Saudi women are witnessing is not new. If anyone goes back to the beginning of the year 1360 AH, corresponding to 1941, he can see that women were granted the right to education by enrolling in schools in a number of cities and villages in the Kingdom. In the year 1379 AH, corresponding to 1959, the General Presidency for Girls’ Education was established and various phases of schools were created and these were followed by springing up of girls’ colleges and departments for women in universities. Moreover, they started benefiting from foreign scholarship programs that began in 1426 AH.
Another landmark initiative was the opening of the largest women’s university in the world -Princess Noura Bint Abdul Rahman University in Riyadh in 1429 AH, as the first integrated women exclusive government university campus in the Kingdom. Princess Dr. Al-Jawhara bint Fahd bin Muhammad bin Abdul Rahman was appointed as first president of the university.
Moreover, the biggest event was in the year 1430 AH, corresponding to 2009, with the appointment of the first Saudi woman Prof. Noura Al-Fayez, as deputy minister of education, and that made the ambition of Saudi women fly high without borders, in light of the prosperity and development that the Kingdom started witnessing in various fields.
The year 2017 is described as the “Year of empowering Saudi women,” but the year 2018 has made new additions to it by empowering women in new fields, including the right to drive, followed by the adoption of the Anti- Harassment Law, which confirms the keenness and follow-up of the leadership to safeguard woman, with ensuring her full human rights.
There were also key decisions to permit sports for girls in schools and allow Saudi women to participate in the Olympic Games, and Saudi families to enter stadiums to watch football matches. The women were also granted aircraft pilot licenses for the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia.
During the year 2019 Saudi women assumed the position of ambassador for the first time. In February 2019 a royal decree was issued to appoint Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan as the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States with a ministerial ranking, and that further highlighted the bright image of the capabilities and efficiency of Saudi women in every field.
This shows Saudi women allowed to offer their remarkable contributions with provision of equal opportunities with their male counterparts, thanks to the utmost keenness and care of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the architect of the Saudi Vision 2030.
The Kingdom continues striving to score ambitious goals one after another with regard to women empowerment in line with the Vision 2030. The Vision aims to raise the participation rate of Saudi women in the labor market, in addition to holding political positions, as well as their active participation in the Shoura Council and the security field. They started assuming senior positions in the education sector, and nominating themselves for membership in the presidency of mayoralties.
We see that empowering Saudi women and supporting their capabilities through providing opportunities in diverse fields has made them a real and effective partner in the ongoing nation building drive and development march.