BEIRUT: The Kingdom is living a “true developmental renaissance” that has enabled women to live a serious and productive life rather than a “grouchy and inactive one,” the general manager of international cooperation and organizations at the Saudi Human Rights Commission told delegates at a forum in an impassioned speech.
Amal Yahya Al-Moualami was speaking in Beirut, at a forum organized by the Kingdom’s embassy in Lebanon.
“I stand before you as a full-fledged Saudi citizen,” she said.
“Since the Kingdom’s accession to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women in 2000, many gradual reforms have taken place. However, since the announcement of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 (reform plan) in 2016, the country has witnessed important changes in regards to women’s empowerment and the fulfillment of their rights.”
She cited examples such as the lifting of the driving ban, the enactment of an anti-harassment law and changes to laws regarding custody and alimony. Women were allowed to enter new fields such as aviation, state security, economy, entrepreneurship, tourism and entertainment, she told the forum.
“We were also delighted to see the appointment of the first Saudi woman as an ambassador, Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan. The Kingdom is living a true developmental renaissance that has enabled women to live a serious and productive life rather than a grouchy and inactive one.”
“We realize that women have become a true partner in development and leadership.”
Walid Bukhari, Saudi amassador to Lebanon
“Some challenges that remain to be solved for women to be able to fulfill their role are freedom of movement, residence and travel. A modern public transport network is underway, while billions of dollars are invested in public and private transport companies. Driving schools for women were built throughout the country after the ban on women driving was lifted, which had a central role in changing the general situation in the Kingdom.”
Rola Dashti, who is executive secretary of the UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, praised the achievements of Arab states but said there remained inequalities.
Violette Khairallah Safadi, Lebanon’s minister of state for economic empowerment of women and youth, said Vision 2030 originated from the present to build a promising future.
The Kingdom’s ambassador to Lebanon, Walid Bukhari, said: “We realize that women have become a true partner in development and leadership.”