UK official: Saudi women’s progress ‘striking’ and ‘strong’

UK official: Saudi women’s progress ‘striking’ and ‘strong’

RIYADH (Rahnuma): Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 reform program has secured strong progress for the country in many areas, particularly women’s empowerment, Stephanie Al-Qaq, director of the Middle East and North Africa department at the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, said. “The pace of change under Vision 2030 is really striking, with particularly strong progress for women in terms of giving them greater access to the labor market and education,” Al-Qaq said on Wednesday at the British Embassy in Riyadh.

To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, the embassy and the British Council organized a special forum with leading women sharing their experiences about their careers, challenges they faced and the opportunities offered by Vision 2030.

Al-Qaq, the first female director of the Middle East and North Africa section at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has visited Riyadh twice in the past 12 months. “I passionately believe in empowering women,” she said.
“We have really amazing role models for all of us here. I want to support both women and men who are looking to the future female leaders in this country.”

The British diplomat urged women to “try to be themselves.”

“It’s so important that you show other women that you can be yourself and still be successful.”
In a panel discussion titled “Enabling Future Leaders,” Shaima Al-Husseini, managing director of the Saudi Sports for All Federation, said that successful individuals were “soldiers of change.”

“Sport is a new sector in Saudi Arabia, and giving everyone an opportunity, and changing their perspective about sports or physical activity is important,” she said.

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