This week, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Abdullah Bin Yahya Al-Mouallimi, spoke at the Executive Council of UN Women in New York. According to Saudi Gazette, Al-Mouallimi took the opportunity to highlight the various decisions and programs made by Saudi Arabia to empower its women in 2018, efforts that have today led to the increased inclusion of Saudi women across different sectors and in various levels of authority.
As reported by Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Al-Mouallimi mentioned in his speech the Kingdom’s gratitude for the contribution of the UN Women’s Fund to the promotion of women's rights in leadership and government, as well as to their economic empowerment by encouraging legislation to promote women's rights. He also pointed to the body’s support in developing government entities, partnerships, and policies that have enabled women in Saudi Arabia to have better access to services and finance.
MBS and Saudi women
Al-Mouallimi then shared the ways the Kingdom has been working on dismantling all discriminatory practices against women, such as the implementation of Royal Order No. 33322, which states that certain government authorities cannot demand “of women to obtain approval from any person when they need government services for completion of procedures for their benefit.”
Al-Mouallimi also referred to measures put into place to facilitate the inclusion of women into the workforce such as the Wusool program, designed to support working women traveling to and from work, the Qurrah program, which aims to build licensed child care centers near work places to ease the load of working moms, and the Nafaqah alimony fund project for divorcees and their children, designed to ensure timely support for divorced women and their children.
In addition to the points Al-Mouallimi highlighted, Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers passed a long sought anti-harassment law last year as well, which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of almost SAR 300,000 (around 80,000 US dollars). This year, that law was put to the test as two offenders were arrested after videos of them harassing women were shared online.