Saudi princess says gender balance key to reforming society

Princess Moudi bint Khalid during the Al-Nahda event. (Ziyad Alarfaj )
Updated 14 March 2019
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Saudi princess says gender balance key to reforming society

  • Princess Moudi bint Khalid spoke at a conference being held on the heels of International Women’s Day
  • Another speaker, historian and author Sultan Al-Mousa, described how women were once considered sacred and holy beings

RIYADH: Equality for men and women at home and in the workplace was key to achieving social and economic reform in Saudi Arabia, according to Princess Moudi bint Khalid.

The Saudi royal was speaking at a conference being held on the heels of International Women’s Day, during which she highlighted the importance of a gender-balanced society to the success of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan.

Princess Moudi was addressing delegates in her role as general secretary of the board of directors of conference organizer Al-Nahda, a nonprofit body which has been working to empower women for 57 years through education and financial support.

She said this year’s conference theme “Balance for Better,” should be a goal all year round and not just for one day.

“I pray that we work together to achieve a balance between both genders in all fields, whether at home or in the workplace,” the princess said, while also emphasizing Al-Nahda’s important role in empowering women and announcing that the organization will launch a book documenting its journey.

Historian and author Sultan Al-Mousa became the first man to speak at a public event at Al-Nahda’s headquarters when he gave a talk on the competition in ancient civilizations between men and women.

Al-Mousa described how women were once considered sacred and holy beings, before being persecuted, and he spoke about their different roles throughout history.

Dr. Moudhi Al-Jamea, a Saudi telecom executive and “ethical hacker,” spoke about the lack of women in the technology sector.

She told the conference that there were many reasons for this, such as the lack of female role models and many families viewing it as an unattractive career for women.

Al-Jamea said she was the only female Ph.D. graduate in cybersecurity. “We have lots of universities that have tech roles and subjects, but there is a disconnection in the industry.” 

During part of the conference, delegates were plunged into darkness following an electricity cut. However, with the audience using lights on their mobile phones, Maha Taher, VP of the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Co., was able to deliver her speech on the challenges of being a working mother and finding a balance between her personal life and career.

“Take it slow and enjoy every phase of your life,” she said. “If you’re a mom, enjoy your children; if you’re a CEO, enjoy your success.”

Taher stressed the importance of equity over equality. “Women don’t want to be a façade. Don’t give us positions if we don’t deserve it. Give it for competency, not to fill a void.” 


First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

Updated 22 March 2019
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First Saudi female air traffic controllers begin work

  • Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by Saudi Air Navigation Services

JEDDAH: Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) on Wednesday celebrated the appointment and start of work of the first batch of Saudi female air traffic controllers at an air traffic control center in Jeddah.
Eleven women completed a one-year program conducted by SANS in cooperation with the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation. This is the first program to qualify women to work as air traffic controllers.
The academy initiative, in collaboration with SANS, seeks to create more jobs for women as part of a reform push to wean the economy off oil. Vision 2030 plan aims to increase employment and diversify revenue sources.
Earlier, SANS CEO Ryyan Tarabzoni said the state-owned company was prioritizing the hiring of women in the profession, as the country pushes to extend women’s rights in the country and also recruit more nationals as part of the “Saudization” project.