‘Strong and ambitious’ Saudi women crucial to transforming the Kingdom

Hoda Al-Helaissi speaking on International Women’s Day at the RUSI think tank in London. (RUSI)
Updated 09 March 2018
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‘Strong and ambitious’ Saudi women crucial to transforming the Kingdom

LONDON: Empowering women is “crucial’’ to transforming Saudi Arabia into “a country that can compete globally on different levels,’’ Hoda Al-Helaissi, a member of the Shoura Council, said.
Speaking on International Women’s Day, she listed the rapid-fire reforms that are widening women’s roles in the Kingdom, but voiced frustration that international perceptions of Saudi women are still as “oppressed, subservient to and suffocated by men, uneducated, not allowed to work and inferior to her partner.’’
She said at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a UK think tank: “The stereotype of the Saudi woman is far from the truth. The Saudi woman has revealed herself to be a strong and ambitious individual, influencing and participating positively in society.’’
Describing the tendency in the west to blur the ’fine line’’ between religion and tradition, she emphasised that “it is not Islam that hinders progression of women.’’
“Much of what is seen by the west as being backwards and oppressive to women is based on traditions,’’ Al-Helaissi explained.
Describing women as vital in realising Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitions for the Kingdom, she said: “A country’s true development can only come about... when it uses 100 percent of its human resources, male and female.’’
The make-up of Saudi society is shifting, she continued, paving the way for women to play a more active role in creating the country’s future.
Saudi Arabia is changing at a rate that “few countries have seen before ... but this change “must come from within’’ and not be imposed from outside, she added.


Saudi Environment Ministry celebrates Arab Agriculture Day

Smart agriculture depends on good agricultural systems that are capable of increasing productivity and enhancing quality without weakening natural resources. (SPA)
Updated 2 min 39 sec ago
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Saudi Environment Ministry celebrates Arab Agriculture Day

  • The ministry drew up the Kingdom’s policy for organic agriculture, which was approved by the Council of Ministers

JEDDAH: Ways of employing smart agriculture techniques to increase efficiency and productivity and achieve food security will be the focus of a celebration organized by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Agriculture on Arab Agriculture Day on Thursday Sept. 27.
The event in Riyadh is being held in parallel with the official celebration held at the headquarters of the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development in Khartoum, Sudan.
“Smart Agriculture: A Better Future for Arab Agriculture” will be hosted by the Undersecretary of the Environment Ministry Ahmed Al-Ayedah, in the presence of the directors of all branches of the ministry in the different regions and the representatives of agriculture faculties in the universities as well as the board of directors of the cooperative societies, as well as specialists involved in smart agriculture.
The ceremony, which will be held in the main hall of the National Center for Agricultural and Livestock Research in Riyadh, will honor a number of prominent farmers in the field of smart agriculture, and encourage investors to come forward.
Al-Ayedah said that smart agriculture contributes to the provision of safe and pollution-free food, limiting the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides that are harmful to the health and environment. It also helps to overcome the impact of climate change.
He added that smart agriculture depends on good agricultural systems that are capable of increasing productivity and enhancing quality without weakening natural resources.
Ayedah added that the ministry has taken a lead in developing smart farming technology through establishing the organic agriculture development project and the Saudi Society for Organic Agriculture and the Organic Agriculture Research Center.
The ministry drew up the Kingdom’s policy for organic agriculture, which was approved by the Council of Ministers. This strategy has been a great resource for farmers providing advice for those wanting to switch to organic methods. It has allocated $200 million (SR750 million) for this initiative.