Driving not ‘be all’ of Saudi women’s rights, says Princess Reema

Princess Reema said the abaya will be no hindrance to Saudi women’s exercise.(AN photo)
Updated 20 June 2018

Driving not ‘be all’ of Saudi women’s rights, says Princess Reema

WASHINGTON: Saudi Arabia is working to address deeper issues on the path to women’s rights after allowing them to drive and attend soccer matches, one of the Kingdom’s top female officials has said.
“These are things that are quick wins, we know we can do them, women in stadium, women driving, that’s great, but women driving is not the end all, be all of women’s rights,” Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud told the Atlantic Council in Washington.
As part of a wide-ranging social and economic reform initiative in the face of falling oil revenue, King Salman announced in September that Saudi women would be allowed to drive from June this year.
Saudi Arabia then tackled the male bastion of soccer, letting women into stadiums to watch matches for the first time in January.
Princess Reema, a vice president at the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia, said deeper issues are still being worked on including “a woman feeling safe in her home” and having any career path open to her in a traditionally male-dominated society.
“Those are things that will be more dynamic in moving the conversation for women’s rights than just getting her driving,” said the princess, who in 2016 became the first woman named to a senior post in the authority, which is the equivalent of a ministry.
“Domestic violence is so critical. I promise you we really are working on it.” The Sports Authority is trying to get more Saudis exercising as part of efforts to build a healthier population.
Saudi women traditionally cover themselves from head-to-toe in black robes, known as abayas, but Princess Reema said the attire will be no hindrance to women’s exercise.
She said she knows of three companies making abayas for running and two more that have robes designed for cycling.
“Innovation will come. It has to come,” she said. “Guess what, I’m wearing trousers today,” added the princess, also dressed in sparkling silver shoes, purple, black and grey flowing sleeves, and with a blue scarf around her head.
The Kingdom sent four women as “wild cards” to the 2016 Olympics, but Princess Reema told AFP on the sidelines of the Atlantic Council event that she will be happy when one gets to a future Olympics “on her own merit ... however long it takes.”


Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah wins big data award

Updated 6 min 28 sec ago

Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah wins big data award

  • The award was a result of the development work carried out by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah

JEDDAH: The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah on Tuesday won first place for the best agency implementing big data in the management of operations at the 17th International Operations and Maintenance Conference in the Arab countries being held in Dubai.

The award was received by the General Supervisor of the Transport Sector at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah Dr. Bassam Ghulman, amid the global participation of leaders and experts in government institutions, agencies, international organizations and business sectors.

Dr. Ghulman said that the award was a result of the development work carried out by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah and the efforts of Minister Dr. Mohammed Saleh bin Taher Benten and the follow-up of his deputy Dr. Abdulfattah Mashat. This contributed to enhancing the services provided to guests as one of the strategic objectives of the technical transformation of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

Big data processing aims not only to take advantage of advanced digital infrastructure, but link it to operational processes to achieve the highest degree of transparency. It also aims to control the quality of services and measure the efficiency of operations, one of the key objectives of Vision 2030.

The ministry has developed the Hajj and Umrah Information Center, which is based on data collection and analysis linked to the system of transport operations, housing and subsistence, in addition to joining the agencies working with the system of Hajj and Umrah services through a unified platform.

In 2019, the system has witnessed significant technological development. The ministry has established the Hajj and Umrah global distribution system, “Maqam,” the smart pilgrimage platform, the “Dhaif” platform for transport operations, the transport operations center and the e-system for Hajj and Umrah, as well as digital applications on smart devices including the “Manasikana” and “Arshdny” applications.