Role of Saudi fathers shifting as women join the workforce

Role of Saudi fathers shifting as women join the workforce
Fathers’ involvement in the lives of their children, such as in education or spending time together can have a lasting and positive impact on their school performance. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 15 June 2023
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Role of Saudi fathers shifting as women join the workforce

Role of Saudi fathers shifting as women join the workforce
  • Ahead of Father’s Day, Saudis celebrate the changing role of fathers in society

RIYADH: A breadwinner, protector, leader, teacher and helper — these roles were historically perceived as the roles of a father, but cultural and social reforms in Saudi Arabia and the increased participation of women in the labor force have redefined fatherhood in the Kingdom.

Ahead of Father’s Day, which falls on June 18, Saudis celebrate the changing role of fathers in society amid social and cultural shifts in the Kingdom.

“Nowadays, we rarely see fathers who spend the majority of their time at work and see their children only on the weekends. My father, may Allah bless him, was like that,” said 37-year-old Hala Al-Subaie, a mother of two and an accountant.

“Back then fathers solely held the responsibility of being the main provider in the family, and they wanted to make sure that their kids have everything they need. I guess that was their way of love then,” she added.

Modern-day fatherhood comes in various forms. Gone are the binary roles of a father being the breadwinner and a disciplinarian, and a mother being a homemaker.

“It is common to see a father at the community park with his kids or pushing a stroller down the street,” said Remaz, a mother and a pharmacologist based in Dhahran.

She added: “After my long shift in the hospital, I take my daughter to the park out of guilt of not seeing her all day, and there I see fathers with their kids, some playing with their kids, others watching their kids while sitting on the bench.”

Women’s empowerment under Vision 2030, which includes measures to expand women’s economic inclusion, and promote cohesive equality between men and women in society, has altered the traditional role of a Saudi father.

During the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, Saudi Human Rights Commission President Hala Al-Tuwaijri revealed that the share of women employed in the Kingdom increased from 21 percent to 35 percent in five years as a result of the Kingdom’s efforts to boost women’s participation in the labor market.

With mothers also being essential providers today, fathers have started to take on roles vastly different from men of previous generations.

Today, besides contributing as one of the providers in the family, fathers are seen more actively participating in parenting, from being with their wives during childbirth to simply being more involved on a daily basis.

“Being called a father and being a father are two different things — something I realized becoming a father myself,” said Omar Al-Khaldi.

He added: “I love being involved with all aspects of my daughter’s life. I want to be able to create core memories with her, and I want her to be proud of me, and this surely requires love, trust and affection, something beyond just being one of the providers in the family.”

Today’s fathers welcome the changes in the Kingdom and are strongly motivated to father their children differently from how they were raised.

Having an involved father means having a figure who is emotionally engaged and is involved in childcare, and exerts influence in child-rearing decisions. An involved father also cooks, changes nappies and ensures that all the children’s needs are met.

Fathers’ involvement in the lives of their children, such as in education, can have a lasting and positive impact on their school performance.

“It was important for me to have an involved father for my children. Specializing in child development and teaching second-grade kindergarten, I can spot children who have an involved father figure from those who don’t,” said Raghad Saeed, a mother and kindergarten teacher based in Riyadh.

“The impacts, positive or negative, can have aftereffects on their lives, too.”

Other positive impacts of an involved father include higher levels of sociability, confidence and empathy, strengthened family bonds, and an improvement in a child’s cognitive abilities, particularly in early childhood development.

A father’s role is irreplaceable, and their loving presence is needed in the lives of children.


Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

Saudi, Ireland foreign ministers discuss Gaza developments in Brussels

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan on Monday met his Irish counterpart Micheal Martin in the Belgian capital, Brussels, to discuss developments in the situation in the Gaza Strip and the efforts made to solve the conflict.

During the meeting, they also discussed bilateral relations between their two countries and ways to strengthen and develop them in various fields, the Kingdom’s foreign ministry said.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of a meeting of the ministerial committee, headed by Prince Faisal, which was assigned by the Joint Arab-Islamic Extraordinary Summit with the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels.

It also comes a day before Ireland, along with Spain and Norway, plan to make official their recognition of a Palestinian state.


Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands

Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands

Saudi industry minister begins official trip to Netherlands
  • Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef’s visit seeks to strengthen ties in industrial, mining sectors

RIYADH: Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources Bandar bin Ibrahim Alkhorayef traveled to the Netherlands on Monday for an official visit with the objective of strengthening cooperation in the industrial and mining sectors, Saudi Press Agency reported.
The visit aims to explore and expand joint investment opportunities between the two countries.
Alkhorayef is scheduled to meet with several Dutch ministers and senior government officials, along with key leaders from the private sector, to discuss collaboration in the industrial and mining sectors.
The minister’s itinerary will also include several visits to Dutch factories and companies operating within these sectors with the hopes of fostering collaborative ventures between private sector entities in both countries.
The visit underscores Saudi Arabia’s commitment to diversifying its economy and strengthening international ties, SPA added.
In 2023, the Kingdom’s non-oil exports to the Netherlands were valued at about SR2.6 billion ($706 million), while its non-oil imports from the Netherlands amounted to almost SR8.5 billion.


Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause
Updated 27 May 2024
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Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union praises Saudi Arabia’s ‘tremendous effort’ to support Palestinian cause

RIYADH: The Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union has praised the “tremendous efforts of Saudi Arabia, led by King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in supporting the Palestinian cause,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The AIPU released a final statement following the 36th Arab Parliamentary Union Conference, which ended on Monday in Algiers.

A Saudi delegation, headed by the chairman of the Shoura Council, Sheikh Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh, took part in the conference alongside heads of parliaments and councils, and several regional and international organizations and institutions.

During its sessions, the conference discussed developments in the Palestinian issue and the current situation in the Arab region.

The statement also praised the Kingdom’s hosting of a number of Arab, Islamic and African summits to support the Palestinian cause and put an end to the aggression against the Palestinian people.

On Yemen, the statement stressed the importance of the initiatives undertaken by the Kingdom, which call for constructive dialogue to achieve sustainable peace and a comprehensive political solution.

The conference endorsed the recommendations of the political committee, “which highly praised the pivotal and leading role played by Saudi Arabia, which has never hesitated in its significant achievements, contributions, initiatives, and authentic Arab stances aimed at unifying Arab ranks and elevating the status of the Arab and Islamic nations in all international forums,” SPA said.

The conference also praised the Kingdom’s hosting of Sudanese talks in Jeddah between the two conflicting parties to consolidate a truce and reach a final ceasefire agreement to end the crisis in a way that preserves Sudan’s sovereignty and unity and enables it to restore its security and stability.


Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria
Updated 27 May 2024
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Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

Saudi economy minister holds talks with UN, OPEC officials in Austria

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Economy and Planning Faisal Al-Ibrahim on Monday met Executive Director of the UN Office in Vienna Ghada Waly in the Austrian capital, Vienna.

During the meeting, the two discussed “collaboration between the Kingdom and the UN on the Sustainable Development Goals and other topics of common interest,” the ministry said in a statement.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the minister’s visit to Austria to participate in the ninth session of the Saudi-Austrian Joint Committee.

Al-Ibrahim also met Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, president of the OPEC Fund for International Development, to explore the fund’s upcoming initiatives.

He also held talks with Austrian Minister of Labor and Economy Martin Kocher on strengthening trade and economic cooperation between the two countries, and the latest developments of joint interest.

The meetings were attended by the Kingdom’s Ambassador to Austria Abdullah Tawlah.


Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state
Updated 27 May 2024
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Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Kuwait emir receives Saudi minister of state

Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah received Saudi Minister of State Prince Turki bin Mohammed bin Fahd bin Abdulaziz and his accompanying delegation on Monday at Bayan Palace in Kuwait.

Prince Turki conveyed the greetings of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

They reviewed the strong fraternal relations between their countries and ways to strengthen them across various fields.

The meeting was also attended by Saudi Ambassador to Kuwait Prince Sultan bin Saad bin Khalid and dignitaries from both sides.