‘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

‘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.


Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

Updated 11 December 2019

Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi, president of Tabuk University

  • Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU
  • Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah bin Mufreh Al-Dhayabi has been the president of Tabuk University since October 2017.

Prior to that, he was the deputy head of educational affairs at King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) in Jeddah, where he served in the position for one year. 

He has also been the chairman of the promotion and job competition committee, as well as the safety committee, at Tabuk University since November 2012. 

Al-Dhayabi began his academic career as a lecturer at KAU, where he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the College of Science. 

He later traveled abroad to pursue his higher education, earning his master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Missouri, US. He obtained his doctorate from the University of Birmingham, UK.

After that, he returned to the Kingdom and joined KAU as an assistant professor. He remained in that position from 2005 to 2010, then served as an associate professor between 2010 and 2014.

Al-Dhayabi is a member of the higher committees for female colleges in the Kingdom and the community colleges higher committee at the Ministry of Higher Education.

He congratulated King Salman on the release of the government’s annual budget for 2020.

“Approximately one-fifth of the budget is allocated to education, which reflects the leadership’s keenness to invest in the human element through education and training ... to open new horizons and job opportunities for Saudi youth and encourage them to invest in the diverse resources in the Kingdom,” Al-Dhayabi said.