Saudi women high jump their way into social manoeuvrability
When the ban on Saudi women drivers was lifted last September, it was believed that mobility was the vehicle through which they would gain more prominence and recognition in the Kingdom. Then the idea of launching movie theaters in the Kingdom had been whispered through the grapevines, before AFP reported that Saudi women attended the “Short Film Competition 2” festival at King Fahad Culture Center in Riyadh which almost coincided with the Kingdom’s Private Investment Fund (PIF) setting up a $2.7bn company to invest in entertainment, including theatres at new mall construction, as reported.
More recently, sports has gained momentum as a real driver of change.
Vision 2030 gaining muscle
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 reform program aims to diversify the economy away from oil and project an image of a moderate Islam, which necessitates creating a more open society to the immediate benefit of Saudi women.
Quoting a statement by the Saudi General Sports Authority, Reuters announced that the Kingdom would allow women to attend sports events for the first time, at three selected stadiums starting from early next year.
The stadiums in Jeddah, Dammam and Riyadh are being prepared to accommodate families in early 2018, said a statement by Saudi Press Agency on Sunday.
a preamble to his came the October 13 announcement that Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan was appointed the first woman to head a federation as President of the Community Sports Union, covering sports activities for men and women.
Princess Bin Sultan also opened the newest Studio 5 gym in Jeddah, which is based on electronic registration and scheduling sport sessions.
According to CNN, the government began granting licenses for women-only gyms in February. Also, public schools in the Kingdom will start to offer physical education for girls this year.
Saudi women making giant leaps in business
Saudi women are also given more responsibility as high level appointees in major governmental posts.
The Mayor of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province, Fahd Bin Mohammed Al-Jubair, appointed a woman as Assistant Mayor of Al-Khobar Municipality on September 25, in order to support the rapid growth of malls and supermarkets in which women are working.
NCB Capital Co-Chief Executive Officer Sarah Al Suhaimi became the first woman to chair Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the largest stock market in the Middle East.
Rania Nashar was named Chief Executive of Samba Financial Group becoming the first female CEO of a listed Saudi commercial bank and Latifa Al-Sabhan was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Arab National Bank (ANB).