Saudi women’s unstoppable momentum
There are two types of people: The ones who forget what they had for dinner last night and those who plan the next five years. Realistically, of course, you do not have to be at the extremes; you could be in the middle, planning your next summer trip or dieting for your third cousin’s wedding in July.
Many philosophers believe that humans evolve every three to five years and their priorities change based on their circumstances — like turning 40 for example. Taking a decision could be tough, for instance: How many times have you asked your friends what they would like to eat and they reply “anything,” so you dial the nearest shawarma shop and then, bam, the complaining starts. This shows that the simplest decisions could also be tough without good reason. The idea is to look into this scenario from a bigger perspective, one that determines the purpose of your life.
Who would have thought that, in a month, women would be driving? Or you plan which movie you would like to watch, but wait, should we attend the next Al-Hilal vs Al-Nassr match instead? This may be cliche but, as youths in the middle of a significant moment, we must be subjective about our contribution to this massive wave of change.
Of the two types of people I mentioned at the beginning, I am the boring one that plans the next five years and gets excited yet super annoyed if the plan does not proceed accordingly. To use more complicated terms, utilizing your potential and exploiting the tools you have are essential to creating two things: A strategic plan for your career growth, and then identifying your level of contribution to the country’s vision.
A year ago, as I was writing my masters thesis, I had a conversation with a consultant at the Ministry of Labor, who said: “Today the country’s vision is not to increase the ratio of employment between genders but instead give women who are already in leadership positions more authority to become effective decision-makers in society.” That statement struck me instantly and made me wonder how I might be able to jump on to the scene like a hungry shark.
Anyhow, as a young, educated female in a growing era I had many excellent career opportunities, but I specifically chose one where I could wear the hat of an “observer” before thinking of making a real impact. My current job involves exposure, traveling and forgetting when the last meal I had. But I got the opportunity to look into the wave of change from a 360-degree view and consider: “What are the gaps I can fill by using the tools I have?” Well, having studied politics and worked in the media, I know for a fact I can convince you that unicorns are real and I just purchased one on eBay — but that is a lie, isn’t it? True. It is a lie, but it is the “acknowledgment” of potential that matters here, not the context.
It is a simple formula: Ask yourself what you are capable of and how you can utilize your capabilities to be an effective contributor. It might take you a year or two, but you will get there. Now, to end, I would like to give a little advice to all the young career seekers (do not get me wrong, the idea of opening a cupcake shop is still very appealing to me). You are lucky to be living in these exciting times and therefore this is your chance to be, say, one of the first female ministers. So grab the opportunity before someone else does — the times of hiding behind a nine to five job no longer exist (I sincerely apologize if my boss is reading this).
If you have a dream, then follow it. If you are passionate about something, then pursue it. If you are dying to buy a cat, then go ahead, it certainly teaches you self-discipline. Whatever it is that you feel like achieving, it is highly doable, possible, exciting and probably unstoppable at this point in spite of all the challenges.
• Nada Al-Tuwaijri is the communications managing director at the Misk Art Institute.