Greater empowerment of Saudi women expected

Updated 12 November 2017
0

Greater empowerment of Saudi women expected

RIYADH: Saudi women have shown leadership skills but Shoura Council member Haya Al-Munea has noticed their lack of number or absence in key decision-making platforms.

She expects an increased empowerment of women in the future, and they will play a more active and vital role in the decision-making process in various fields in the public and private sectors.

In an interview with the press, Al-Munea — a writer herself — based her belief on the fact that women have not been included on the list of those involved in corruption, in addition to the fact that they’re highly educated.

“Women are more careful about accuracy in work and integrity. They hold positions and are untainted by any manifestation of corruption,” she told an Arabic daily.

She also expressed her firm belief that this will happen if and when efficiency — in addition to integrity and competence — is one of the criteria of choice rather than gender in appointing personnel to leadership positions.

She lauded King Salman’s move of forming a supreme committee to stamp out corruption, going after persons accused of wrongdoing and punishing them if and when they’re found guilty.

She added that they should not be spared no matter what their positions or status in life are so that the initiated administrative reform will succeed, which heralds a better tomorrow for the nation as well as for the Saudi people.

In the public sector, women have shown their brilliance and competence. Ten women out of 30 retained their posts as Shoura Council members when the Kingdom reshuffled the consultative body in early December last year.

By historic royal decrees, they’re among those who advise King Salman on policies and legislation. A majority of them hold doctorate degrees and have held positions in universities across many different fields.

Plans are also afoot for the Kingdom to empower women scholars to play a greater role in the Islamic ruling process. The Shoura Council plans to authorize them to issue fatwas and pave the way for them to contribute to Islamic research rulings.

In diplomacy, the number of female diplomats employed by the Saud Foreign Ministry and working inside and outside Saudi Arabia has risen to 113, according to Foreign Ministry spokesman Osama Nugali.

Abroad, they’re making Saudi Arabia proud. One of them is Manal Radwan, first secretary and political coordinator at the Saudi mission at the United Nations in New York. She attended the George Washington University for her master’s degree in political science and government.

In business and finance, Khlood Aldukheil holds the position of managing director of the Aldukheil Financial Group, a closed company engaged in investment and banking.

She has expertise in various areas, including business formation and restructuring, debt advisory and debt restructuring, risk management and regulatory compliance, and investment banking.

She is currently the president of the National Committee for Statistics under the Saudi Council of Chambers, chairperson of the audit committee for Saudi Orix Financing Company, among others.

For his part, lawyer and arbitrator Ibrahim Al-Hakami attributed the absence of corruption and waste of public money among women to the lack of senior positions available for them.

Al-Hakami also noted that women in leadership positions are few — in stark contrast to their male counterparts — and their number can be counted on the fingers.

“When a woman holds a leadership position, she is more afraid of responsibility than men. It’s because there are only a few women leaders and she’s careful because she wants to keep her position and preserve her reputation, he said.

Activists and writers with social advocacies have also expressed their firm belief in the capability and qualification of women for leadership positions.

“There is no woman in a circle of corruption,” said Halima Muzaffar, a poet, on her official Twitter page, adding that “women are more active and more honest.”


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
0

Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.