Saudi women travel with friends abroad without mahram

Updated 29 July 2015

Saudi women travel with friends abroad without mahram

ABHA: Several Saudi businesswomen started traveling with a group of friends after recent regulations which allow women to travel without their mahram.
These women said they find great fun to travel as a group with their friends and their children, where they can achieve their goals of travel.
Travel and tourism offices said many Saudi women’s groups prefer to travel to Arab countries such as Dubai, Egypt and Bahrain, and a few women travel to European countries or non-Arab states due to the different habits in non-Arab countries that force some of them to choose countries similar to the Saudi environment.
Um Ali, 30, traveled abroad with friends of the family for shopping in some world cities. But after marriage, her children and husband’s desires changed her plans to travel where they wanted especially to visit museums and scientific places.
Fatma Yahya, a postgraduate student, is keen on traveling abroad to learn cultures of other people and their ways of living. Yahya prefers to visit marine and green places. She clarified that lack of tourism education is the reason behind her reluctance to spend her vacation inside the Kingdom.
Khadija Al-Qahtani, a journalist, said: “Local society changed its outlook toward Saudi women and started respecting them. Saudi women do not have any problem traveling alone abroad as they have succeeded in working in high positions in addition to their contributions to support their families and communities.
"People in the Kingdom cannot criticize women when they travel abroad with their friends as they have the same rights as men, while local society does not criticize women when they travel with their female relatives especially within the Kingdom."
Jibreen Al-Jibreen, an associate professor of social studies at King Saud University, said: “Saudi women can travel abroad with their friends or even travel alone. However, it is normal and must not draw attention.”

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Updated 30 May 2020

Hana Abdullah Alomair, Saudi film director

Hana Abdullah Alomair is the director of Netflix’s first Saudi thriller original series, titled “Whispers,” which is due to begin streaming in 190 countries on June 11. 

A Saudi writer, filmmaker, and movie critic, Alomair won the Silver Palm Tree Award for best script at the Saudi Film Competition in 2008.

She gained a bachelor’s degree in Arabic-English translation from King Saud University in 1992 and four years later a master’s degree in the same field of study from Heriot-Watt University, in Scotland.

Her documentary “Beyond Words” was screened during the Gulf Film Festival in 2019 and was selected for the main competition in this year’s Muscat International Film Festival.

A member of the Saudi Arabian Society for Culture and Arts, she has worked as a head writer in writing workshops for several TV series. She was a jury member at the Saudi Film Festival held by Rotana in 2013. Her second
flick, “The Complaint,” was selected in the main competition of Tessa’s Festival for Asian and African Films in Morocco in 2014 and it won the Golden Palm
Tree Award for best short fiction film in the Saudi Film Competition in 2015.

In 2016, Alomair, together with Hind Al-Fahhad, scooped the prize for best script for the short film “Peddlers” at the King Fahd Center Short Film Competition.

She recently published a book about the Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa, and in 2017 wrote a play called “Qat Oqat.”

Last year, she wrote and directed her latest short film “Swan Song,” which won the Golden Palm Tree Award for best actor in the Saudi Film Festival.