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Saudi Arabia ‘backs all international efforts to empower women’

The government is committed to increasing women’s access to academic and economic opportunities.
NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia has stressed its willingness to cooperate in any international effort aimed at empowering women in any field, eradicating discrimination and violence against them, and improving their cultural, economic and health care in accordance with the principles of Islamic Shariah.
Ahlam Yankssar, first secretary at the Kingdom’s permanent mission to the UN, said: “The Kingdom believes that women are an important factor in the workforce and that empowering them socially, economically and politically, providing them with a safe environment and services facilitating their national duties, and ensuring they receive their complete rights in different fields, will help drive the development process to achieve the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”
Yankssar made these remarks during a general debate on women’s advancement at the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
“The Kingdom’s mission supports the recommendations of the secretary-general in his private report to improve the conditions of women in rural areas,” added Yankssar. “We would like to indicate that Saudi Arabia has worked on providing educational and health care facilities in all its rural and urban areas and has made sure to provide mobile clinics as well in order to reach women in remote areas,” said the diplomat.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development has launched a national initiative to provide flexible job opportunities to women — especially those in villages — with the aim of promoting their financial independence, the diplomat pointed out.
Yankssar said the Kingdom had issued a number of decisions and passed legislation to end discrimination and violence against women and grant them total independence in running their personal and family affairs.
The Kingdom also established a fund to grant divorced women and their children the right to maintenance until the issuance of the necessary legal provisions, the diplomat added.
In its continuous efforts to empower women, she said the Kingdom issued a decree, allowing them to drive. The move will let them be self-dependent and open new job opportunities.
Yankssar said that the Kingdom has sought to raise women’s participation in the labor market, in addition to the positions they already hold in political, social, economic and educational fields. She highlighted women’s effective participation in the Shoura Council, diplomatic services and the security sector.
The diplomat added: “My country’s mission would like to declare that the empowerment of women is a natural right that should be granted to all women around the world. However, it seems an impossible thing to achieve for Palestinian women as Israel continues its occupation and siege.”

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