Saudi women ‘partners in the country’s future’

Saudi women ‘partners in the country’s future’

RIYADH (Rahnuma) : Ambitious Saudi women are making giant strides in line with social changes in the Kingdom as they overcome challenges and obstacles to become partners in building the country’s future.

If 2017 was the “year of empowering Saudi women,” reforms in 2018 aimed at breaking down gender barriers were even more dramatic, with a ban on women driving overturned and the introduction of anti-harassment laws.

Female students were also allowed to take part in school sports, families were permitted to attend football games and Saudi women were encouraged to compete in the Olympic Games. High-flying women were granted licenses to pilot airplanes for the first time in the Kingdom’s history. And in 2019, the Kingdom appointed its first female ambassador.

On the international scene, Saudi women’s competencies were acknowledged in 2001 with the appointment of Thoraya Obaid — the first Saudi woman to graduate from a US university on a government scholarship — as executive director of the UN Population Fund.

The naming of Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan as Saudi ambassador to the US is an example of the confidence the Saudi leadership has placed in women’s capacities in all forums in light of the social, economic, political and cultural empowerment of Saudi women.

In the health field Dr. Samar Al-Homoud, a consultant surgeon at King Faisal Specialized Hospital and the Research Center, was honored by King Salman this year, receiving the King Abdul Aziz Medal (First Class) at the National Festival of Heritage and Culture (Janadriya)

Meanwhile, Dr. Khawla Al-Kuraya, senior cancer research scientist at King Faisal Specialized Hospital, is currently directing the King Fahd National Center for Children’s Cancer and Research, which operates under King Faisal Specialized Hospital and the Research Center in Riyadh.

In the field of science, researcher Fatoun Sayegh has completed a PhD in applicable fungi technology at the University of Liverpool in the UK and is head of the natural marine products unit at King Fahd Research Center.

Researcher Hayat Sindy became the first Arab woman to get a PhD in biological technology from the University of Cambridge. Her many inventions includes a probe that determines the effects of medications on the human body, helping astronauts to monitor their blood sugar and blood pressure levels. She also has carried out research projects in environmental protection and the measurement of toxic gases.

In military and security field, medals have been awarded to women affiliates of the Ministry of Defense, who took part in Operation Decisive Storm and Operation Restoring Hope. Mai Abulsaud, Hind Obeid Al-Qathami, and Nora Abdulrahman Al-Nueiser received the King Fahd Medal (Third Class).

In the arts, Saudi women such as film directors Haifaa Mansour and Hind Al-Fahad made their mark in international festivals.

Many names emerged in the field of literature and poetry, including Omayma Al-Khamis and Sara Al-Khathlan.

In engineering, Saudi engineer Reema bint Sultan bin Rabea is working in the underground metro project, the Kingdom’s largest public transport scheme.

The economic and financial sector has also hired remarkable women, such as Iman bint Habbas Al-Mutairi, assistant to the minister of commerce and investment; Khuloud Al-Dakhil, head of the statistics committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers; Sara Al-Suhaimi, the first Saudi woman to be appointed head of the Tadawul board; and Rania Nashar, CEO of Samba Financial Group.


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