Saudi Arabia: Empowering the Saudi Women

This is a time of change and transition for Saudi Arabia and especially so for the Saudi woman.  Within the past year Saudi women have become more vocal on their needs and desires.  Better yet, they are also being heard.  They may not be able to legally drive yet in Saudi Arabia but they will no longer be subjected to having an unknown man attend them while buying intimate apparel.  Removing male lingerie clerks will result in opening thousands of new jobs for women.  Additionally protests were over-ruled allowing women to work as cashiers in some of the Kingdom’s large grocery stores.  While these opportunities may seem like baby steps they are opportunities for further empowerment of the Saudi woman.

However perhaps the greatest opportunity which can impact women from all over the Kingdom towards empowerment through education and skills is through the Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society.

As reported by Reem Al-Mukhtar of Arab News, the Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women, one of the leading nonprofit organizations in Saudi Arabia, launches on Thursday a new project to reduce poverty and increase employment among women.

The program, called “My Future Is in My Hands,” is in association with several training centers and education experts. The mission of the organization, established in 1962 by Princess Sara Al-Faisal, is to socially and economically empower Saudi women through financial assistance, training and job skill development. It also aims to enable Saudi women to be productive members of society.

The new project follows a research conducted among women between 18 and 40 years of age who took part in Al-Nahda’s financial support projects. The study revealed that 93 percent did not enroll in university or continue higher education, and only 18 percent were able to find employment.  “Some of the major obstacles faced by this segment of society is the apparent lack of counseling, ambition and self-motivation,” said Dania Almaeena, project manager at Al-Nahda

“Therefore, Al-Nahda has launched a project to tackle such obstacles by providing college counseling, guidance and training. We try to inform our young women about the opportunities and potential they have, and motivate them to build a better future for themselves by obtaining higher degrees. We also help them choose the career that matches their interests and ambitions.”

The project will start with senior high school students and gradually expand to other age groups that are interested. The Optimum Training Center, The British Council, Education Experts and INJAZ Saudi Arabia are associated with the program. For details visit www.alnahda-ksa.org

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17 Responses

  1. “They may not be able to legally drive yet in Saudi Arabia but they will no longer be subjected to having an unknown man attend them while buying intimate apparel.”

    THANKS TO THE INDEFATIGABLE MS. REEM ASSAD AND HER COURAGEOUS COLLEAGUES FOR MAKING THIS HAPPEN AND THANKS TO DAR ALHEKMA FOR TRAINING SALESWOMEN. THEY, NOT THE SAUDI ABSOLUTISTS, DESERVE THE CREDITS FOR THIS EMBRYONIC STEP.

    HOW LUCKY SAUDI WOMEN COULD GET NOT TO BE FONDLED WHEN BUYING UNDERWEAR AND BRAS. AND EVEN LUCKIER TO BE PERMITTED TO WORK AS CASHIERS (FAMILIES’ LINES ONLY) WHILE CAMOUFLAGED IN BLACK WITH MINIMUM WAGES. WHO WILL GET THEM TO WORK?

  2. Actually last I heard the cashiers were out of work. I have not heard they’ve been allowed back in. And the price to pay for women in the lingerie shops? A plethora of new regulations segregating the stores. It seems it’s perfectly alright for men and women to mix as long as the man is earning an income and the woman is not.

  3. I’m happy to know about the removal of men selling “women lingerie”.It is a great step in the saudi evolution.

  4. Freedom doesn’t always come in great leaps but at times inch by inch.

  5. I am impressed by such profound comments.

  6. I was reading an article the other day about an African woman from Liberia. Evidently she and other women like her worked tirelessly for peace in liberia and for woman to get their rights. She said several things that struck me….

    Basically no one is going to give you your rights, you have to take them and often it is going to be a bloody awful affair. One thing she said is that in her country women and girls were raped and beaten. She said that the women decided that they were going to keep pushing even if it meant rape and beatings “because we would be raped and beaten anyway…at least we are fighting for something better for ourselves”. They didn’t allow it to be used as a tool against them.

    The other thing she said is that she is worried about her Arab sisters in the Middle East…(she is Christian). She said that the women came out to protest and when they were given some resistance they backed down and quit too soon allowing themselves to become discouraged. In her opinion she said that they need to keep fighting and pushing forward even now.

    I found it interesting the difference in how women approached the issue. You have to hand it to her…They made great Strides in Liberia…Muslim women in Saudi are still working toward these freedoms.

    I am not saying Saudi women need to endure what she and others like her did, but the message I came away with was that if you want those rights you have to keep pushing forward despite the difficulties.

  7. Next, let’s remove those creepy men who try to sell, and advise me on cosmetics! Uuuugh!!!!!! Have you BEEN in Sephora?!!!

  8. @Robinrcks-
    they’re awful.

  9. @Robin – you are so right. I hated when I went into a cosmetics store and the male clerks hound you. It just seemed so odd and wrong to have a male clerk putting different colors of foundation or lipstick on his arm. I certainly did not ask him to do this but he was so determined to try and make a sale.

  10. @Robinrcks,

    I’m a man and I hate to go to Sephora (they do have men products), cuz the salesman follows you around like a lost puppy, for God sake stay away, if we need something, we’ll call you. And just for the record, Sephora did have plenty of female staff at the inauguration of their store in Altahlia St., I have been told they were ordered to let go of their female staff.

    In another note, progess is taken place as far as hiring women, there are a lot of big stores employing women as cashiers and saleswoman, despite some objection within the religious establishment, which is encouraging…

  11. “HOW LUCKY SAUDI WOMEN COULD GET NOT TO BE FONDLED WHEN BUYING UNDERWEAR AND BRAS. AND EVEN LUCKIER TO BE PERMITTED TO WORK AS CASHIERS (FAMILIES’ LINES ONLY) WHILE CAMOUFLAGED IN BLACK WITH MINIMUM WAGES. WHO WILL GET THEM TO WORK?”

    @ alyami,

    The above statement is utterly ridicules, while it certainly not the best environment for men to work in women lingerie shop, I certainly don’t think anyone is being fondled at any of these shops. Your statement is rather inflammatory and borderline delusional, but then again that seems to be your typical Modus operandi !!!!

  12. Why is it that is Islamic lands,female s wear black as a colour of choice?Does the religion not promote creativity in colour?I find black to be so morbid.

  13. Correction:

    I meant to say ridiculous, and not ridicules….

  14. Rights and freedoms for women have always been hard won. It was no walk in the park in North America but obviously much easier than it will be in Islamic countries because women don’t have equal rights to financial affairs, etc. because of sharia law.

  15. @Riyaaz Ismail I am not sure this is the reason but back in time the rich Jewish women would wear covering from Laodicia, Turkey. This was made from the black sheep. Jewish women covered themselves in a similar manner to today’s muslim womem. The material was rare and considered expensive. It may be the women who were given a choice at the time picked the most expensive material.

  16. […] should really be left to these people… Photo from American Bedu LD_AddCustomAttr("AdOpt", "1"); LD_AddCustomAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  17. whats right of indian woman in saudi .
    i need help in saudi.

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