On International Women’s Day, Saudi women celebrate new freedoms

On International Women’s Day, Saudi women celebrate new freedoms
Hala Hussein Alireza makes a life-changing journey on June 24, 2018 after Saudi Arabia ended a ban on women driving. Opposite: An end to passport restrictions has opened new horizons for women in the Kingdom. (AFP)
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Updated 20 November 2020

On International Women’s Day, Saudi women celebrate new freedoms

On International Women’s Day, Saudi women celebrate new freedoms
  • Until recently, women had to rely on a male guardians for most aspects of their everyday life
  • The present generation is living in a golden age, where gender will no longer be an obstacle

RIYADH: Life for a woman in Saudi Arabia, especially a Saudi woman, was full of frustrations until recently.

Women were treated as second-class citizens and had to rely on a male guardians (mihram) for most aspects of their everyday life.

Accomplishing anything independently was almost impossible without a mihram. An adult female was unable to travel without the consent of a man.

Saudi women had to adhere to social rules implemented by extreme conservatives and could not apply for jobs or dine out without the permission or company of a male guardian.


Slowly but surely King Salman paved the way for women to live independently, free from these restrictions.

On Aug. 1, 2019, a decree signed by King Salman declared that Saudi women no longer needed permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport.


It was a life-changing moment for Saudi women, no matter how small it seemed to the outside world.

And since that decree less than a year ago, coupled with the 2017 ruling — enforced in 2018 — allowing Saudi women to drive, Saudi women are flourishing and becoming more active in the workforce.

Balqis Fahad, a widow with three children, told Arab News that she wept on the day the royal decree was announced. Fahad’s husband died when she was pregnant with her third child, and her children’s futures were placed in her brother-in-law’s care.
“They were tough times,” she recalls.

“He wasn’t unkind, but inevitably their lives were in his hands and we had to live according to his standards, not mine.

My children and I were at (his) mercy. My children’s lives were in his hands. I wasn’t able to call the shots, the executive decision lay with him.” Those decisions ranged from choosing the schools her children attended, to whether or not they could travel.

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For Dr. Maysa Amer, a physician, the decree did not alter much in her own life, but she recognizes the impact it had on other women. “It didn’t affect me personally, because my father gave me the green light in almost everything,” she told Arab News.

“But I’m happy for those women who didn’t have my freedoms to finally get a chance to enjoy them.”

Twenty-nine-year-old Aseel Blkhyour, an assistant consultant at the Ministry of Economy and Planning, shared the sentiments of most Saudi women.

“This International Women’s Day, Saudi women celebrate the new freedoms we have been granted. Freedoms which allow us to live. Freedoms we never thought possible. Thank you, King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.”

The current generation of young Saudi women are living in a golden age — one where they can look forward to a future in which hard work and ability will take them far, and their gender will not be an obstacle.

 


Saudi crown prince congratulates Djibouti president on re-election

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. (SPA/AFP/File Photos)
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. (SPA/AFP/File Photos)
Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi crown prince congratulates Djibouti president on re-election

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti. (SPA/AFP/File Photos)
  • Ismail Omar Guelleh obtained 98.58 percent of the vote

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has sent a cable of congratulations to President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti after he won a fifth term in the country’s recent presidential elections 

In his cable, the crown prince wished the president success, stressing keenness on enhancing bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Djibouti. 

He also wished the president good health and happiness as well as the people of Djibouti steady progress and prosperity, Saudi Press Agency reported.

“President Ismail Omar Guelleh obtained 167,535 votes, which is 98.58 percent,” Interior Minister Moumin Ahmed Cheick announced last Friday.

He added that the confirmed results would be released by the Constitutional Council.

 


UN Security Council welcomes Saudi initiative to end Yemeni crisis

The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis. (AFP/File Photo)
The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis. (AFP/File Photo)
Updated 17 April 2021

UN Security Council welcomes Saudi initiative to end Yemeni crisis

The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis. (AFP/File Photo)
  • The Council also called on Yemeni parties to continue implementing the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement
  • Members denounced recent cross-border attacks by Iran-backed Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The UN Security Council has welcomed Saudi Arabia’s peace initiative to end the Yemeni conflict and reach a political solution to the crisis.

In a press statement issued on Friday, the UNSC said the Saudi initiative is in line with the UN Special Envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths’ peace proposal, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The Saudi proposal entails a nationwide cease-fire, the reopening of Sanaa International Airport and allowing fuel and food imports through the port of Hodeidah.

The statement indicated that the UNSC called on all Yemeni parties to engage constructively with the UN Special Envoy and negotiate without preconditions, for an immediate ceasefire throughout the country and a comprehensive political settlement, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the UN Security Council resolutions.

The UNSC also urged the participation of Yemeni women and the country’s youth in talks in accordance with relevant resolutions, underlying its members' commitment to the sovereignty and territorial unity of Yemen. 

The Council also called on Yemeni parties to continue implementing the provisions of the Riyadh Agreement.

The Security Council members denounced the recent cross-border attacks by the Iran-backed Houthi militia on Saudi Arabia, calling for an immediate end to the Houthis’ escalation against Yemeni city of Marib.

The council also held the Houthi militia accountable for the danger posed by the Safer oil tanker, calling on Houthis to ensure an immediate and unconditional access of the UN experts to inspect and repair the long-abandoned fuel tanker off the coast of Yemen.


Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths
Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths

Saudi Arabia announces 9 more COVID-19 deaths
  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 387,795
  • A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced nine deaths from COVID-19 and 948 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 419 were recorded in Riyadh, 210 in Makkah, 133 in the the Eastern Province, 34 in Asir, 32 in Madinah, 23 in Jazan, 20 in Hail, 15 in Tabuk, 12 in the Northern Borders region, nine in Najran and seven in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 387,795 after 775 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 6,810 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.


Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan
Updated 17 April 2021

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan

Saudi King, Crown Prince donate $8.1 million to local charity platform Ehsan
  • The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have donated $8.1 million for charitable and not-for-profit activities via the Ehsan Platform, state news agency SPA reported.

The platform has been recently launched as an integrated technology portal that contributes to the governance, management and sustainability of donations. King Salman donated $5.4 million (SR20 million) while Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman contributed $2.7 million (SR10 million).

Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf bin Jamaan Al-Ghamdi, Chairman of Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, thanked the Saudi leaders for their generous donations which according to him was an affirmation of “attention being paid by the state’s leadership through being in touch with citizens’ needs and expending for goodness ways.”

Al-Ghamdi expressed the Crown Prince’s keenness to support charitable work and develop the non-profit sector.


Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan
Updated 17 April 2021

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan

Arab coalition destroys Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan
  • Coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians

RIYADH: The Arab coalition destroyed a Houthi ballistic missile fired toward Jazan on Friday, Al-Ekhbariya reported.

The militia’s hostile attempts to target civilians are systematic and deliberate, the coalition said. 

The coalition said it is taking operational measures to protect civilians in accordance with international humanitarian law.

The attack came a day after the coalition destroyed five ballistic missiles and four explosive-laden drones launched by Houthis toward Saudi Arabia on Thursday.

Those attacks originated from Sa’dah governorate in Yemen, spokesman Brig. Gen. Turki Al-Malki said.