Houthis urged to abide by cease-fire

Updated 12 May 2015
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Houthis urged to abide by cease-fire

Ministers on Monday praised Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman for setting up a humanitarian and relief center in Riyadh that would coordinate all aid for the Yemeni people.
The king will open the center, named after him, and lay the foundation of the center’s permanent headquarters on Wednesday.
In a statement after the weekly Cabinet meeting chaired by the king, Minister of Culture and Information Adel Al-Toraifi said the move reflects the monarch’s commitment to ease the suffering of the people.
Al-Toraifi said the ministers also urged the rebels to abide by the five-day cease-fire proposed by Saudi Arabia, to ease the flow of aid into the country. There was also an appeal to the international community to step up their relief efforts in the country.
Al-Toraifi said King Salman thanked fellow GCC leaders for their support at the 15th Consultative Meeting last week in Riyadh, which was aimed at ensuring security and stability in the region.
He welcomed the participation of French President Francois Hollande as the first guest of honor at the GCC gathering, which marked France’s increasing “active and positive role” in the Middle East, said Al-Toraifi.
The king also briefed the Council of Ministers on his talks with King Abdallah of Jordan, Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou and US Secretary of State John Kerry. He said the US supported the Kingdom’s moves to ensure peace in the region, said Al-Toraifi.
Al-Toraifi said the Cabinet condemned the attacks on Najran and Jizan by Houthis that targeted homes, farms, schools and service facilities. The ministers were adamant that the Saudi armed forces would eliminate these attacks.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.