Vision 2030 and unprecedented gains for Saudi Woman

While the world is busy talking about ending Saudi women driving ban, there is much more gains, successes, and achievements of women in the last few years, and particularly after the announcement of Vision 2030 reform plan in 2016.

Saudi Arabia takes serious steps and makes historical changes to empower Saudi woman and grant her a full participation in public life.

Saudi woman has impressed the world with the notable roles she can play locally and internationally and the momentous leap she can make for the Kingdom. Emily Hawthorne, who is a regional analyst for Stratfor, a geopolitical intelligence platform commented on these progressive moves saying: “2018 has indeed been a year of firsts for women in Saudi Arabia, in terms of some very specific
reforms.

Most notable have been youth-focused reforms, such as loosening tight restrictions on driver’s
licenses as well as allowing men and women to attend music concerts.”

Interestingly, Bloomberg announced, earlier in 2018, that Saudi Arabia’s decision to allow woman driving may reap more than Aramco; as this decision could generate as much income by 2030 as plans to sell shares in the national oil company,

Saudi Aramco and help to increase woman participation in the workforce, in alignment with the national Vision 2030 program’s objective of raising women’s share in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030.

It published an estimate of $90 billion to be added to economic output by 2030 thanks for allowing women to drive.

Having a considerable number of newly-opening driving schools in Riyadh and Jeddah, over than three million Saudi women could be driving by 2020, according to PricewaterhousCoopers, a consultancy firm.

While the world is busy talking about ending Saudi women driving ban, there is much more gains, successes, and achievements of women in the last few years, and particularly after the announcement of Vision 2030 reform plan in 2016. It is necessary to point out that if it hadn’t been for Saudi women’s cumulative efforts along the past decades, the Saudi Society wouldn’t have been prepared to accept such changes.

“Saudi women have made phenomenal progress, and not just because of the recent reforms. It was the
work of Saudi women over the past decades that sufficiently transformed the national consciousness of
the country to be ripe for the changes made by its current leadership.”

Kent Davis-Packard practicum

director at the SAIS Women Lead (SWL) initiative, a global women’s leadership development program,said.

As said, 2018 was really a year of firsts for Saudi women; they entered a sports stadium, for the time ever in the Kingdom to attend a local soccer match in a designated seating area. They were also allowed to enjoy mixed-gendered concerts.

More female-designated facilities at stadiums, cinemas, and theatres are under construction. Women were welcomed to admission to Oxford Aviation Academy, a Saudi flight school. Incredible that hundreds of Saudi women have already applied to the academy, which means that Saudi Arabia could have so many like Hanadi Zakaria Al-hindi, the first Saudi female to become a commercial airline pilot.

As for the military sector, applications from women were accepted, for the first time ever. A part of the Saudi women’s achievement series is when the all-female Saudi Arabian team won the Guinness World Record-breaking Hajj Hackathon, and Saudi racing driver Reema Al-Juffali became the first woman in the Kingdom to race in a championship, finishing second and third in the silver category of the TRD 86 Cup’s season-opener at the UAE’s Yas Marina Circuit.

In pursuit of empowering Saudi female to occupy leading postings and take over prominent roles. On the local level, four women currently hold senior positions: Tamadur bint Youssef Al-Ramah, who is the first female deputy labor minister of Saudi Arabia.

Professor Kawther bint Mousa Al-Arbash and Dr. Ghada Bint Ghunaim Al-Ghunaim were also appointed as members of the Board of Trustees of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue. Iman Al-Mutairi has assumed the post of an assistant to the Minister of Commerce.

Moreover, four women were assigned to key position in Jeddah’s municipality. On the global level, Dr. Sumaya Al Nasser is the first Saudi ambassador for Peace Without Borders, and Dr. Samar Al-Homoud, a Saudi consultant colorectal surgeon at King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center, was appointed by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) as chair of its ethics committee to be the first member from the Middle East region to hold this position.

Another remarkable step among other efforts towards affirming that Saudi women play vital roles at both the political and commercial levels is holding the first business forum for women last March 2018, entitled “Let’s Talk About Tomorrow,” in which the Kingdom’s most eminent Saudi female business leaders were gathered with a focus on their considerable influence to boost the future economy and encouraging a larger number of women to join the workforce. One of the more hopeful and recent procedures taken by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Commerce and Investment is eliminating the need of Saudi women to a guardian’s permission to start their own businesses.

When Saudi women are fully empowered, they will take their country forward. Women are the key to overcome the challenges as well as the political and social changes in the region, bridging the social divisions, within their families, workplaces, and societies, and realizing the Saudi Vision 2030 and National Transformation Program. So empowering women simply means highly-empowered communities and involving them in the workforce means a greater benefit to the economy.

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