‘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.


DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy to celebrate 4th International Yoga Day

June 21 is annually known as the International Day of Yoga.
Updated 21 June 2018
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DiplomaticQuarter: Indian Embassy to celebrate 4th International Yoga Day

  • The UN General Assembly in September 2015 responded positively to India’s request that June 21 be commemorated worldwide each year as International Yoga Day
  • Saudi yoga trainer Dr. Nouf Marwaai has been honored with one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, for popularizing yoga

RIYADH: The Indian Embassy in Riyadh has organized an event to celebrate the fourth International Day of Yoga on Thursday.
It will be held at the Al-Madi Park in the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center in Riyadh under the supervision of Indian Ambassador Ahmad Javed.
The program is expected to be attended by Saudi men and women, as well as foreign diplomats and members of the Indian community.
The International Day of Yoga has been celebrated annually on June 21 since its inception in 2015.
The UN General Assembly in September 2015 responded positively to India’s request that June 21 be commemorated worldwide each year as International Yoga Day.
Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice attributed to India; June 21 is the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and shares special significance in some parts of the world.
In the run-up to the celebration, the embassy organized the yoga day function at the International Indian School-Riyadh (IISR). About 200 IISR male and female students participated in the program in the school auditorium.
Saudi yoga trainer Dr. Nouf Marwaai has also been honored with one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Shri, for popularizing yoga. She was the first certified yoga instructor in Saudi Arabia. Marwaai is also the founder of the Arab Yoga Foundation, which was established in 2010. It was the first yoga organization in the Gulf region.