JEDDAH: P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Saudi women are capable of holding top positions like ministers of education, health, information and social affairs, said Hanan Al-Ahmadi, a member of the Shoura Council.
“Appointment on women to the Shoura Council is one of the important decisions taken in the history of Saudi Arabia,” she said.
In comments published in the Arabic press, she urged female Shoura members to rise up to the expectations of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah who took the historic decision to induct them to the consultative body.
“We have to do our best to make this experiment a big success.”
Abdulelah Saaty, dean of the College of Business in Rabigh, supported women’s demand to get top ministerial positions.
“We have a large number of educated and capable women with high leadership qualities and they deserve such positions to play a major role in the country’s development process,” he told Arab News while praising the king’s decision to appoint Nora bint Abdullah Al-Fayez as the country’s first deputy education minister.
Al-Ahmadi, who was placed 8th in a list of 30 powerful Saudi women published by Arabian Business, said women play a significant role inside the Shoura to take vital decisions concerning the society in general.
“Women members have been getting good support at the Shoura,” she said.
“The voice of women members had a big impact on social, educational and health issues,” she said, adding the media covers only a small portion of the Shoura discussions.
She, however, admitted that female Shoura members, like other Saudi women, have been facing several challenges like the need to get permission of male guardians to travel and apply for passport.
“This makes us more determined to challenge the rules and regulations that obstruct women empowerment.”
Al-Ahmadi backed the government’s move to employ Saudi women at lingerie and female garment shops, saying it was instrumental in creating more jobs for them.
“It also helped in correcting a major problem in our markets — the presence of salesmen in lingerie shops,” she said.
The Labor Ministry said it was starting the third phase of employing women in shops that sell women’s materials.
“The third phase will cover jobs at shops selling women’s perfumes, shoes, gowns, bags and materials of mother and child care and will be implemented gradually in 48 months,” it said.