US defense secretary condemns terror attack on Saudi warship

James Mattis, shown in this file photo taken on Jan. 12, 2017, condemned the terrorist attack on a Saudi frigate west of the port of Hodeidah. (AFP)
Updated 01 February 2017
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US defense secretary condemns terror attack on Saudi warship

JEDDAH: The US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has condemned the recent terror attack on a Saudi navy patrol near the Yemeni port of Hodeidah. At least two people were killed when three Houthi suicide boats attacked a Saudi patrol frigate, the coalition in support of the legitimate Yemeni government said on Monday. Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, second deputy prime minister and minister of defense, held a telephone conversation with Mattis on Tuesday. At the beginning of the call, the US secretary of defense condemned the terrorist incident against the Saudi frigate west of the port of Hodeidah, and offered condolences on the death of the Saudi sailors, the official Saudi Press Agency reported. The deputy crown prince thanked Mattis for his noble feelings toward the Kingdom, pointing out the strategic relations between the two countries, which extend for more than eighty years. The two also discussed the fight against terrorism, militias and piracy. They also stressed their rejection of the “interventions by the Iranian regime and its agents in the affairs of countries in the region in order to undermine security and stability in them.” The deputy crown prince and Mattis also stressed the implementation of directives by King Salman and the US President Donald Trump following the historic telephone call between the two leaders earlier this week, in which they discussed measures to fight terrorism.


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.