SOURCE: About Her
When you study human behavior for a living, it’s hard not to get involved. Mona Al-Munajjed is Saudi Arabia’s leading sociologist and has turned her theoretical studies into tangible change as one of the country’s most prominent women’s rights activists.
This incredible woman has worked with the United Nations to help solve major issues in Arab countries, from child labour to gender and development. Her project, “Activating the Role of Women’s Welfare Associations in Saudi Arabia” was the first UN project to get private funding in Saudi Arabia.
She has spent more than fifteen years advising international UN agencies and helps Saudi NGOs. She was ranked seventh on CEO Middle East’s list of 100 Most Powerful Arab Women in 2015.
As if that wasn’t enough, she has also written several books, including Saudi Women Speak, which is made up of 24 interviews with successful and outstanding Saudi women. It breaks the typical stereotype of Muslim women as passive victims and shows their true strength and potential.
“There is a huge misconception and misunderstanding in the rest of the world about the status of women in Saudi Arabia, which I realized while pursuing my higher studies in the United States and traveling abroad subsequently,” she told Arab News.
Though the international community may not see progress for Saudi women the way locals do, Al-Munajjed has said that change will happen, it’s just a matter of time.
One of her other books, Women in Saudi Arabia Today, presents the major issues facing Saudi women today, and their current role in society. She is constantly working for Saudi women to have a more prominent role in society, and believes the key is within the Kingdom.
“[Social reform] can come only gradually and only from within their own society,” she said at a book signing last year.
Al-Munajjed shows the power of women supporting other women, through her work on women’s welfare and her books, which give the world a different perspective on Saudi women.