Saudi Arabia Held Its First Ever Women’s Day Event!
Saudi Arabia just held its first ever Women’s Day event and this historic moment is making headlines all around the world! How could it not? It’s the first ever event dedicated to women where Saudi authorities have not interfered with statements, or violence.
Women from all over Saudi Arabia attended this event, including members of the royal family. People have gathered here to fight for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, a country very well-known for its ultra-conservative Sharia regime.
The gathering was held from February 1 to 4 at the King Fahd Cultural Centre. Advocates of women’s rights (right to drive, freedom from guardianship and gender equality in general) were present at the event and explained the fundamental reasons why Saudi Arabia should start treating women as men’s equals.
Saudi Arabia prohibits women from driving, interacting with men, trying clothes while shopping and even competing freely in sports. Female members of the royal family participated in panel discussion and Princess Al-Jawhara bint Fahad Al-Saud even hosted the panel on women’s roles in education.
Princess Adila bint Abdullah Al-Saud, also a know advocate for gender equality and women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, also talked about the kingdom’s heritage and how old traditions demeaning women should become a thing of the past.
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Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan, the president’s undersecretary for the female section at the General Authority for Sports, held a speech about the importance of women being allowed to practice freely any type of sport they choose.
Mohammed Al Saif, general supervisor of the King Fahd Cultural Centre, told Arab News that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants to “celebrate the Saudi woman and her successful role, and remind people of her achievements in education, culture, medicine, literature and other areas”.
Saudi Arabia is trying to modernize its current constitution as part of the Vision 2030 program, which is a post-oil economy plan to change the country for the better. With the ban on voting for women being lifted in 2015 for the first time in the country’s history and with decreasing the power the strict religious police had until 2016, when they could stop, question, pursue or arrest people without trial, it seems that Saudi Arabia is making steps in the right direction.
Another good measure the government is planning on is to increase the percentage of women workers in the country, from 23% to 28% by 2020.
However, change does not come over night and the ultra-conservative kingdom still has a long way to go in order to assure gender equality.