Decree allowing women to drive is ‘landmark in the history of Saudi women’

Decree allowing women to drive is ‘landmark in the history of Saudi women’
The Shoura Council holds its 54th ordinary session in Riyadh on Wednesday. (SPA)
Updated 28 September 2017

Decree allowing women to drive is ‘landmark in the history of Saudi women’

Decree allowing women to drive is ‘landmark in the history of Saudi women’

RIYADH: The Shoura Council has expressed its appreciation to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the issuance of the royal decree on traffic law provisions and its executive regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses to both males and females.
Addressing the regular 54th session of the council, Deputy House Speaker Mohammed Al-Jafri said the royal decree achieves the aspirations of many female citizens in line with applicable Islamic and regulatory measures.
Meanwhile, the council approved amendments on the basic rules of social houses and care centers, and rehabilitation programs for the disabled.
The council also approved the addition of an article and two new provisions to the above basic rules that will authorize the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to care for certain groups of society who are unable to care for themselves and protect their rights.
The Committee on Economy and Energy called on the Saudi Exports Development Authority (SEDA) to achieve integration and coordination between the SEDA and Saudi commercial missions abroad to increase the volume of Saudi exports.
Among other recommendations, the committee asked the SEDA to study the possibility of becoming a self-funded entity from services it is providing to private sector companies.
Commenting on the committee’s recommendations, one member stressed the need to raise the rate of non-oil exports in line with Vision 2030.
On another topic, the Committee on Water, Agriculture and Environment asked the Saline Water Conversion Corp. (SWCC) to establish small-scale desalination plants along the coasts and purification plants on the banks of dams using renewable energy.
The committee also asked the SWCC to evaluate its long-term developmental plan to shift from the desalination stage to develop and localize the desalination industry.
Commenting on the committee’s report, one member affirmed the importance of localizing the desalination industry, while another member called for devising practical solutions to minimize costs of desalination and distribution of water.
Another member stressed the need to exploit solar energy in desalination operations while another member called for preparing a strategy to ensure a continued supply of desalinated water.

Women members
Meanwhile, Thuraya Al-Rayyed, a Shoura member, said: “It’s wonderful news and it’s for time us to celebrate the happy occasion.”
Women will feel that they have received their long-awaited rights that will help them do their work independently without depending on the traditional chauffeurs, Al-Rayyed noted.
She described it as a wise decision of the Saudi leadership which has been taken after considering the tremendous developments that are taking place within the country.
The Shoura member further said that she is thankful to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and their advisers to have made such a fruitful decision which would make a positive influence on society as well as the economy of the country.
Another Shoura member, Noura Al-Shaaban, also affirmed that the decision by King Salman allowing women to drive is a landmark in the history of Saudi women and keeps pace with the current stage.
Speaking to Arab News Mohamed Al-Khunaizi, a senior member of the Shoura Council, welcomed the royal decree allowing women to drive in the Kingdom.
Describing it as a “historic decision” Al-Khunaizi thanked King Salman for issuing this decree which led people to the streets celebrating the landmark decision.
“This is a forward-looking decision in a string of social and economic reforms underway in the Kingdom,” he said, adding that “this decision is in line with the National Transformation Program (NTP-2020) and Saudi Vision 2030.”
Welcoming the decision Al-Khunaizi further underscored that “this will give equal opportunity for women to drive like men,” which is important.
There are a lot of families who depend on house drivers or taxis for their transport needs. He pointed that this was long awaited and good news for women as well as men.
“Now, women can drive safely on their own,” he said adding, “this is why I believe it is a great decision toward modernization and development.”
Meanwhile, the Council of Senior Scholars commended the royal order to apply the traffic laws and the executive regulations including the issuance of driving licenses to both males and females.
The council in a statement pointed out that fatwas of all scholars concerning women’s driving of vehicles focused on the interests and evils, but not on driving in itself which is not forbidden by anyone.
Praising the decision, Mona Salahuddin Al-Munajjed, a sociologist, and the author of “Saudi Women,” told Arab News Wednesday: “Allowing women to drive is a wonderful and very positive step toward the advancement and empowerment of Saudi women.”
This will introduce big changes in the Kingdom and on the social as well as economic level, she added.
Dania Al-Maeena, chief executive office of the Al-Oula Non-profit Organization for Charity, told Arab News that it was a dream come true for women in Saudi Arabia.
Describing it as a positive transition toward empowering women in the Kingdom, Al-Maeena said that the women, who are mothers, students, teachers and working in offices will be able to drive their vehicles on their own without depending on domestic drivers who were extra burden on the family budget.
“We welcome this wise decision of King Salman, who is a visionary leader having the youthful exuberance of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman as part of his team. This is fabulous for the fulfillment of Vision 2030,” Amir Qayyum, director of business development at a private establishment, told Arab News.
Appreciating the landmark decision, Halah Al-Hamrani, owner of FlagBoxing, told Arab News that it was a pleasant surprise.
“Women driving was the only problem in the Kingdom. Having realized the growing needs of women, the new leadership has launched the new system which would allow women to drive their vehicles in the Kingdom,” said Al-Hamrani, the only Saudi female kickboxing and boxing trainer in the Kingdom.
She also thanked King Salman and others who were responsible for this move.


Saudi Arabia announces winners of the National Cultural Awards initiative

Saudi Arabia announces winners of the National Cultural Awards initiative
Updated 4 min 52 sec ago

Saudi Arabia announces winners of the National Cultural Awards initiative

Saudi Arabia announces winners of the National Cultural Awards initiative

DUBAI: The Governor of Riyadh, Prince Faisal bin Bandar, awarded on Monday the winners of the National Cultural Awards initiative during the closing ceremony at the Culture Palace in the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh.

Sheikh Muhammad bin Nasser Al-Aboudi was awarded the Cultural Personality of the Year award due to his literary career across multiple fields. His son Khalid bin Muhammad Al-Aboudi received the award on his behalf.

Meanwhile, the Youth Cultural award went to film director Shahad Ameen for her exceptional contributions to the industry.

The Vice Minister of Culture Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez, who attended the ceremony, praised the Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman for Vision 2030, which said “restored culture as a fundamental pillar in building society and a basis for the national identity.”

“Culture, with its civilizational, social and developmental value, has now been given its rightful place thanks to Saudi Arabia's inspiring and ambitious Vision 2030,” he said, referring to it as the “manifestation of pride in the history and civilization of the Kingdom.”

The National Cultural Awards initiative, according to Fayez, will contribute to cultural development, support intellectuals and appreciate their cultural achievements.

“These awards, with their moral and materialistic value, come in recognition of the outstanding efforts made by local creatives in various cultural fields,” he added.

 The initiative included 14 cultural awards:

Cultural Personality of the Year Award

Youth Cultural Award

Cultural Institutions Award

Film Award

Fashion Award

Music Award

National Heritage Award

Literature Award

Theater and Performing Arts Award

Visual Arts Award

Architecture and Design Award

Culinary Arts Award

Publishing Award

Translation Award


King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries

King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries
Updated 20 April 2021

King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries

King Salman directs SR 1.9 billion to be paid to social security beneficiaries

RIYADH: King Salman has authorized SR 1.9 billion to be paid to Saudis who receive social security benefits, Al Ekhbariya reported early Tuesday.
Ahmed Suleiman Al-Rajhi, the minister of human resources and social development, welcomed the king’s generous support to citizens during the holy month of Ramadan. 
The announcement came as Saudis prepare to fast for the eight day.


Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy

Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy

Saudi deputy defense minister receives British PM's envoy

Saudi Arabia's deputy defense minister Prince Khalid bin Salman recieved special envoy to UK’s PM for the Arabian Gulf, Edward Lister.
They reviewed the “strong cooperation between our two friendly countries, especially in the defense,” Prince Khalid tweeted early on Tuesday.
“We reemphasized the importance of our partnership in preserving regional stability&security,” he added.


Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus

Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus
The Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques has launched a new initiative to transport the elderly and people with disabilities using golf carts within the Grand Mosque in Makkah. (SPA)
Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus

Saudi authorities intensify efforts to curb virus
  • 970 new cases reported amid crackdown on violators

RIYADH: Amid a rise in the daily tally of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases in the Kingdom, authorities have expedited their efforts to ensure compliance with health precautions.

The Ministry of Health on Monday announced 970 new cases in the Kingdom with the Riyadh region on top with 438 infections.
The Makkah region followed with 227, the Eastern Province reported 131, and the Madinah region reported 37 new cases. The regions with the lowest number of cases are Najran (8), Al-Jouf (4), and Al-Baha (3).
The total number of cases in the Kingdom has gone up to 405,940 now. With 896 new recoveries, the number of people who recovered from the disease has risen to 389,598 since the beginning of the outbreak.
The ministry also reported 11 new deaths due to COVID-19.
The number of active cases in the Kingdom currently stands at 9,508 with 1,087 of those cases in critical condition. According to Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Mohammad Al-Abd Al-Aly, over half of those cases are people above the age of 60.
The Kingdom is vaccinating its population against COVID-19 at a rate of approximately 1.44/second, or 124,661 each day. Currently, over 7 million vaccines have been administered, with the number standing at 7,280,904.

HIGHLIGHTS

• The number of active cases in the Kingdom currently stands at 9,50 8.

• The ministry also reported 11 new deaths due to COVID-19.

• The Riyadh region reported the highest number of cases on Monday.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs on Monday said that in the last 11 weeks, its special teams carried out more than 230,000 inspection tours to various mosques in the Kingdom to ensure that safety measures are followed.
It said a total of 143 violations were detected and necessary actions were taken to address the issue and penalize the violators.
Taif municipality also reportedly carried out over 2,600 inspection tours of commercial establishments during Ramadan. The municipality’s field teams targeted locations projected to see high activity during Ramadan, such as restaurants, bakeries, buffets, and Arabic sweets shops.
Meanwhile, field teams in Jeddah also cracked down on violators, closing 36 locations for failing to adhere to anti-COVID guidelines. Jeddah municipality announced that its teams had carried out 4,049 field trips in 19 sub-municipalities and 15 governorate municipalities. Similarly, in Tabuk, 58 commercial establishments were closed for not implementing anti-virus measures.


Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences

Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences
The society aims to raise awareness about women’s role in society, and strengthen their capabilities in all fields. (SPA)
Updated 20 April 2021

Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences

Future Women Society seeks to empower Saudi women in the sciences
  • The FWS is working on building its own financial model to achieve financial sustainability that relies on inventing knowledge-based products generating a capital for investment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Future Women Society (FWS) has launched a research, innovation and development unit to further empower women in various scientific disciplines.
Despite female advances in business, technology and the arts, the role of women in science still remains low. Many educational institutions, societies and organizations in the Kingdom are pushing for greater female inclusion in STEM, as one of Vision 2030’s strategic and fundamental goals.
Dr. Gareebah Al-Twaiher, chairperson of the FWS, stressed the importance of raising awareness of the key role women play in research and the need to help them continue to progress.
“It is an established fact around the world that scientific research is (a) long-term investment and the cornerstone of developing any economy that is built on innovation,” she said.
“It is the basis of creating new sciences and achieving sustainable economic growth, as well as enhancing international competition and creating new industries.

FASTFACTS

• The FWS was founded in October 2020 under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

• The society aims to raise awareness about women’s role in society, and strengthen their capabilities in all fields.

“We have focused on the optimal investment of knowledge, human and financial resources to achieve a holistic and sustainable economic value and growth. The FWS is working on building its own financial model to achieve financial sustainability that relies on inventing knowledge-based products generating a capital for investment.”
Scientific research in Saudi Arabia has taken great strides over the past few years, and helped the Kingdom move to the forefront in many areas regionally and globally, she pointed out.
The FWS was founded in October 2020 under the supervision of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development. The society aims to raise awareness about women’s role in society, and strengthen their capabilities in all fields.