Saudi military opens first women’s section

20/01/20

The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks. (Saudi defense ministry)
  • The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks.

JEDDAH: Saudi military chief of staff, Gen. Fayyad Al-Ruwaili, launched the first military section for women in the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces on Sunday.

The director general of admission and enlistment, Maj. Gen. Imad Al-Aidan, explained the regulations of acceptance, and allocated locations where the female staff will be stationed.

Under the initiative to incorporate more women into the field, previously announced in October 2019, women can now join the military as lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, and staff sergeants in the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Air Force, Saudi Arabian Navy, Air Defense Forces, Strategic Missile Forces and Armed Forces Medical Services.

The initiative is the first to allow women to climb the ladder towards senior ranks.

Former Shoura Council member Haya Al-Muni’I previously told Asharq Al-Awsat that these new laws support women’s rights and capabilities in the Kingdom’s military.

“Naturally, they will enter a new sphere of work. It’s a reflection of a national belief in the equality between women and men,” she said.

The initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Program, pushing for the empowerment of women and giving them more leadership positions, and highlighting the significance of their involvement across different fields.

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Getting more women into leadership positions top priority: CEO

18/01/20

  • Saudi Arabia is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic

RIYADH: The boss of one of Saudi Arabia’s biggest banks says that getting more women into leadership positions is a top priority.
Samba CEO Rania Nashar chairs the action council for Women in Business created by the Business Twenty (B20), which is the official G20 dialogue with the business community. It represents the global business community across all G20 member states and all economic sectors.
She said the council was set up to boost women’s particpation not only in business but also in global leadership positions.
During the launch of the B20 in Saudi Arabia this week, Nashar highlighted the under-representation of women in the economy.
“There is a gap of 27 percent between male and female workers; 75 percent of males are part of the labor force while only 48 percent of females are working,” she said.
She said it was important not to just talk about women as workers but as business owners.

FASTFACT

Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020.

“That’s why entrepreneurship is very fundamental to our task force,” she said.  “The majority of the finance development programs have incentives for giving loans to females; however, despite the fact that many large borrowers are females, the amount of loans granted to them is far below what is granted to males,” she added.
Nashar said that two-thirds of female business founders feel that they were not taken seriously by investors when they pitch for investments. They also feel that they are treated differently from their male counterparts.
Saudi Arabia will host the 15th G20 Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21-22, 2020. The Kingdom is focusing on the Business 20 (B20), making this one of the key engagement groups. Women in Business will be Saudi Arabia’s signature topic.

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Are our better halves ready for the change?

18/01/20

If you have read my previous articles, you will have sensed I am a pure optimist at heart, and I hope I will always continue to be an optimist. I write on what I think, and at times I write based on my gut feeling on where I think we are heading in this fourth industrial revolution in terms of work and education.
As a certified leadership coach, I always make my clients write down the top 10 core values they live by. I then ask them to remember an incident that made them angry or upset and see if it touched negatively on any one of their written values and 99 percent of the time they got upset or angry because the incident touched negatively one or more of their written core values. We, humans, tend to get upset from anything that threatens our values or beliefs which pushes us to act or react in ways we can’t explain. I encourage my readers to try to use this technique every time they get upset from anything and they don’t understand why they did what they did. There is always a deeper reason for every action we do.
For me, one of my core values is respect, especially at work, as well as respecting others’ intelligence and treating them as colleagues rather than subordinates. I never force my thoughts on anyone, as we are all unique and, though we might differ, we are still professional colleagues and have respect for one another.
As an advocate of women’s empowerment I must confess that there is one thing I do not take easily and that is when women are not seen as serious contributors in the workplace and are treated as followers rather than leaders, despite the fact that they are capable of leading.
I enjoyed reading Sheryl Sandberg’s book “Lean In,” which I said in multiple international interviews and podcasts that this book should have instead been named “Squeeze In.”
Women all over the world bear the heavy burden of constantly proving themselves worthy of a position or promotion, and must squeeze in to prove themselves. In a way the burden has somewhat been self-inflicted by some women on themselves. Sometimes women are comfortable taking the back seat and not wanting to lead, which is fine if that is truly what they want and they are not forced to be followers.
In changing times, especially in Saudi Arabia where we have the Vision 2030 reform plan that calls for increasing female participation in the workforce, it is our patriotic duty as Saudi women to help in developing our national economy in any way we can.
It is time for Saudi women to get out of our comfort zone and take our place side-by-side with our better halves in driving our economy forward. But wait, what do our better halves think of this? Are they ready for women to lead the way? Are they ready to serve the country alongside women? Are they willing to give women the chance they truly deserve to become leaders in the workforce? So many questions that need answers but, in all fairness, we Saudi women have to patiently give our better halves time to grasp this change and adapt to it.
In the meantime we Saudi women need to work hard as our Western counterparts have done for so long but were only able to have a few Fortune 500 companies led by women.
2030 is just around the corner, and we need to start seeing capable women in top leadership positions in our very own top 500 companies like Saudi Aramco, SABIC, and STC to name a few. As a true optimist, I think we will see this change happening in less than five years from now. What do you think?

Dr. Taghreed Al-Saraj is a best-selling Saudi author, an international public speaker and an entrepreneurship mentor.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Arab News’ point-of-view

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Ivanka Trump applauds Saudi Arabia’s reforms advancing economic role for women

Time: 17 January, 2020

Prince Faisal bin Bandar (L) listens on as Ivanka Trump talks at the Royal Court in Riyadh on May 20, 2017. (File/AFP)
  • Saudi women in business have lauded the Vision 2030 strategy for being the key driver in helping them to realize their ambitions

The United States President’s daughter and advisor, Ivanka Trump, praised on Friday Arab states for the progress they have made in their reforms highlighted in a World Bank Report.

“Great seeing some big progress in countries with the most improved scores this year in the World Bank WBL (Women, Business and the Law) report,” she said, referring to several countries mentioned in the report, including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Jordan and Tunisia.

Ivanka Trump
@IvankaTrump

Great seeing some big progress in countries w/ the most-improved scores in this yrs @WorldBank WBL Report: Saudi Arabia, UAE, Nepal, South Sudan, Sao Tome and Principe, Bahrain, DRC, Djibouti, Jordan, and Tunisia. See the reforms made & those that remain⬇️https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/32639/9781464815324.pdf 

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The World Bank’s annual “Women, Business, and the Law” report ranked Saudi Arabia top among 190 countries for its progress in bringing about reforms related to female involvement in economic development and entrepreneurship.

According to the World Bank’s figures for 2020, Saudi Arabia scored 70.6 out of 100 for progress achieved in the integration of women into the labor market. The report’s findings also placed the country first among Gulf states, and second in the Arab world for meeting the criteria.

Saudi women in business have lauded the Vision 2030 strategy for being the key driver in helping them to realize their ambitions.

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Saudi-hosted G20 to prioritize women’s empowerment

Time: 17 January, 2020 

Saudi Arabia is preparing to host the 15th G20 Summit this year. As the Kingdom is a member of the G20 and of its Troika — a three-member committee comprising the current, previous and next host countries — this will enable Saudi Arabia to fully engage in shaping policies to overcome the challenges confronting the global economy.

During last year’s G20 Summit in Japan, Saudi Arabia joined an initiative on women’s empowerment. It also signed a pledge to promote women’s participation in the workforce, enhance their education and economic opportunities, support their involvement in small and medium-sized enterprises, and overcome gender inequalities to enhance their skills in the digital age.

Saudi Arabia has declared women’s empowerment to be at the forefront of its G20 agenda, as it is crucial for achieving inclusive, sustainable development goals. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 states that women are a great asset that should be utilized.

Under the reform plan, by 2030 women’s participation in the workforce is anticipated to increase from 22 percent to 30 percent, and the overall unemployment rate is expected to fall from 12.7 percent to 7 percent. To achieve these goals, policies and legislation should be in place to encourage collaboration between the public and private sectors to create new economic opportunities for women.

As such, the focus of the Saudi-hosted G20 Summit, and the Kingdom’s goals and policies regarding women’s empowerment, are steps in the right direction. These steps are important in terms of turning rhetoric into reality.

• Eaman Aman  is a freelance writer and researcher in Energy Affairs. She is also an advocate for sustainable solutions to tackle global challenges. #climate_change

Twitter: @aman_eamanii

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Dr. Nourah Al-Yousef, Saudi Shoura Council member

Time: 17 January, 2020 

Dr. Nourah Al-Yousef
  • In May 2017, she became the first Saudi woman to chair the Saudi Economic Association
  • Al-Yousef has also worked as an adviser to prestigious regional institutions including the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources

Dr. Nourah Al-Yousef has been a member of the Shoura Council since her appointment by royal decree in December 2016.

She is also a professor of economics at King Saud University in Riyadh where she served as the vice dean of the economics department and college of law and political science respectively between 2010 and 2015.

Al-Yousef has also worked as an adviser to prestigious regional institutions including the Ministry of Industry and Mineral Resources between 1999 and 2007, the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Secretariat from 2003 to 2008, and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority during 2002 and 2003.

In May 2017, she became the first Saudi woman to chair the Saudi Economic Association.

Al-Yousef gained a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business administration from Bellarmine University in the US city of Louisville. She also holds a master’s degree in economics from King Saud University and a Ph.D. in in the same subject from a university in the UK.

As an active researcher, she has conducted post-doctoral work at the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies, and the Secretariat of OPEC. Her main fields of research have been concentrated on macroeconomics, energy economics, and econometric applications.

Al-Yousef was named one of the top 10 Saudi women in the field of economics in the December 2019 issue of the leading Arab women’s magazine, Sayidaty, chosen for

her active contribution to the finance and business worlds locally and regionally.

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Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, board member at the Saudi aviation authority

Time: 16 January, 2020

Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud
  • She started her career at HSBC Holdings
  • She attained her master’s in business administration and management from the London Business School in 2017

Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud was on Tuesday appointed as a member of the board of directors of the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) as a representative of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH).

The appointment was made during Tuesday’s Cabinet session, and by a royal decree from King Salman stating promotions and restructuring of several government entities.

As part of the reshuffle, three more women were appointed to leading positions, including Haifa Al-Mogrin and Nada Alismail.

Princess Haifa attained her bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of New Haven, US, in 2008.

She attained her master’s in business administration and management from the London Business School in 2017.

She started her career at HSBC Holdings as an analyst, progressing to senior associate of equity sales before leaving in 2012 to join the Ministry of Higher Education as a senior consultant.

She was also managing director of the General Sports Authority between 2017 and 2019, with a focus on developing the sports economy. She became secretary-general of Formula E Holdings in July 2018, a position she still holds.

Princess Haifa has been vice president of strategy at the SCTH since March 2019. She is also vice chairwoman of the Saudi Fencing Federation, and chairwoman of the women’s committee at the Arab Fencing Federation.

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Saudi Arabia named world leader for reforms advancing economic role for women

Time: 16 January, 2020

Women’s increasing role in society and contribution to business and nation-building has expanded in line with the Vision 2030 strategy. (Supplied)
  • World Bank report and Saudi women in business laud Vision 2030 for ‘turning dreams into reality’

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has been named as one of the world’s most transformative nations for advancing the economic role of women in society.

The World Bank’s annual “Women, Business, and the Law” report has ranked the Kingdom top among 190 countries for its progress in bringing about reforms related to female involvement in economic development and entrepreneurship.

And Saudi women in business have lauded the Vision 2030 strategy for being the key driver in helping them to realize their ambitions.

According to the bank’s figures for 2020, the Kingdom scored 70.6 out of 100 for progress achieved in the integration of women into the labor market. The report’s findings also placed the country first among Gulf states, and second in the Arab world for meeting the criteria.

The study revealed that Saudi Arabia made significant improvements on six out of eight indicators, namely mobility, workplace, marriage, childcare, entrepreneurship, and retirement, while maintaining its rank in the asset and property index.

The Kingdom made the biggest improvement globally in enacting reforms in six out of eight areas including women’s mobility, sexual harassment, retirement age, and economic activity.

On the number of women applying and being accepted into the Saudi workforce, Wadha Bin Zarah, the women empowerment director at the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), said: “The number has increased sufficiently with rapid growth. I believe that inclusiveness and diversity are two key factors to any successful entity.

“Among the G20 countries, Saudi Arabia has scored the highest growth in the participation of women in the workforce. Moreover, recruitment and human resources practices have never shown any discrimination against women when it comes to wages. One scale is used for all, and any benefits are calculated on merit, not sex.”

Zarah added: “Vision 2030 targets stated a specific quota for female participation in the workforce, which is to rise from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030, with all sectors aligning their key performance indicators and goals to achieve that target.”

FASTFACTS

• Saudi women in business have lauded the Vision 2030 strategy for being the key driver in helping them to realize their ambitions.

• The Kingdom, according to World Bank figures for 2020, scored 70.6 out of 100 for progress achieved in the integration of women into the labor market.

• Saudi Arabia received a maximum score of 100 in the categories of mobility, workplace, entrepreneurship and retirement.

In addition, Saudi Arabia received a maximum score of 100 in the categories of mobility, workplace, entrepreneurship, and retirement. This achievement was due to changes in laws and regulations related to women aimed at enhancing their role in economic development and boosting the Kingdom’s competitiveness at regional and international levels.

Included among reforms highlighted in the Kingdom were the granting of travel rights for women aged over 21, the renewal of documents for all family members, unifying the retirement age between men and women and aligning them with the work system, and new rules to protect women from discrimination in workplace, especially with regard to employment and salaries.

Bayan Barry, partner account manager at Cisco Systems, said: “In 2006 we started with the first batch (of female employees) which was limited to two or three. That number has increased to around 44 women, working alongside 170 male colleagues, with different experiences from technical, sales, operations, project management and marketing.

“Currently, we are having a phase of internship within our company locally in Saudi and are proud to say that 12 female interns have shown their outstanding skills, including nine technical and three project managers.

“Women have been striving to expand their growth and show their value but in the past, it was not always been that easy. Many were lucky to have a supportive family, but chances were minimal,” added Barry.

“It is a moment of pride being in the right era, where we have the great support of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in promoting more women in the labor force and believing in us to show our utmost value.

Vision 2030 targets stated a specific quota for female participation in the workforce, which is to rise from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030, with all sectors aligning their key performance indicators and goals to achieve that target.

Wadha Bin Zarah, Women empowerment director, Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

“Companies have started to race toward the national transformation aligning with Vision 2030. We are at a pace like never before of women empowerment, with many role models nationwide. We have started to penetrate more into segments we never thought of being in, while showing our impact and driving organizations onto more success.

“Percentage has shown how diversity has created new ideas and successful business results, and a high return on investments where inclusion and collaboration of both genders has been working hand in hand,” said Barry.

The bank’s report pointed out that Vision 2030 had contributed to boosting the implementation of these reforms, as it emphasized the importance of the role of women in ambitious plans to develop the country.

These have included the adoption of a range of initiatives and goals to support the empowerment of women, including raising the percentage of female participation in the labor market from 22 percent to 30 percent.

Nora Al-Kordi, a VAT manager with professional services firm Ernst & Young, said: “Every woman has the right to think that they are of value, to believe in themselves, and deserve every possible opportunity to achieve their dreams.

“Vision 2030 has turned dreams into reality, through empowering women and making what once was deemed impossible easy to reach through hard work and perseverance.”

The World Bank’s “Women, Business, and the Law” report is issued annually and aims at evaluating the level of gender discrimination in regulations related to economic development and entrepreneurship in 190 countries around the globe.

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Princess Haifa Al-Mogrin, Saudi diplomat

Time: 15 January, 2020

Princess Haifa Al-Mogrin
  • Princess Haifa currently serves as the assistant deputy minister for G20 Affairs under the Ministry of Economy and Planning, a position she took up in 2018

Princess Haifa Al-Mogrin was appointed on Tuesday as Saudi Arabia’s permanent representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The Kingdom became a member of UNESCO’s Executive Council in November, and will remain so until 2023.
Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan has said that, during its membership, the Kingdom will seek to extend cooperation with all members of the Executive Council, as well as to preserve Arab culture and heritage, support innovation and technology for sustainable social development, and promote a tolerance.
Princess Haifa received her bachelor’s degree in Economics from King Saud University in Riyadh in 2000 and her master’s degree in Science in Economics with Reference to the Middle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London in 2007.
In 2009, she briefly took up a part-time role lecturing at King Saud University, before starting work with the United Nations Development Program. In 2013, she was promoted to the role of program analyst there, covering social development and human rights.
She joined the Ministry of Economy and Planning as the head of the sustainable development goals sector in 2016 and was appointed assistant deputy minister for sustainable development affairs in 2017. She currently serves as the assistant deputy minister for G20 Affairs under the Ministry of Economy and Planning, a position she took up in 2018. That same year, she was a speaker at the Second Urban Planning Forum — a testament to her expertise in the empowerment of youth and human-rights advocacy. Her Twitter handle is @HaifaAlMogrin.

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Princess Haifa named UNESCO permanent representative

Time: 15 January, 2020

Saudi Arabia plays a prominent role in UNESCO and in November 2019 assumed membership in its Executive Council until 2023. (AFP)

RIYADH: Assistant Deputy Minister for Sustainable Development and G20 Affairs, Princess Haifa Bint Abdul Aziz Al-Mogrin, has been appointed Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Princess Haifa worked as a lecturer at King Saud University from 2008 to 2009. She has held key positions at the Ministry of Economy and Planning, including assistant undersecretary for sustainable development affairs since December 2017, acting assistant undersecretary for G20 affairs since June 2018, and head of the Sustainable Development Goals Sector between 2016 and 2017.

In 2007, she obtained a master’s degree in economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies in the UK. She received her bachelor’s degree in economics in 2000 from King Saud University in Riyadh.

KSA Mission EU
@KSAmissionEU

Congratulations to Princess Haifa Bint Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin @HaifaAlMogrin on her appointment as Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the (UNESCO) another landmark achievement of 🇸🇦 Vision 2030, which aims to empower Saudi women and enhance their leadership positions.

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The Kingdom plays a prominent role in UNESCO and in November 2019 assumed membership in its Executive Council until 2023.

Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan said earlier that the Kingdom will seek to extend cooperation with all members of the Executive Council, as well as preserving Arab culture and heritage, supporting innovation and technology for sustainable social development, and working to promote a tolerant global society.

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