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International Women’s Day: What It Really Means for Saudi Women

10 Women’s rights obtained by Saudi women and 5 top appointments to mark this International Women's Day

September 2017 was an unforgettable month in Saudi women’s history. It marks the announcement allowing Saudi women to drive, but that was only the beginning. Soon after, other significant pro-women announcements followed. This is a list of the latest reforms in Saudi women’s rights.

Government Decisions
After many lobbies and various debates Saudi women received a royal decree allowing them to drive starting from June 2018. In preparation for this decision women will now be able to work at the police traffic department. Driving schools were also welcoming Saudi women hoping to learn driving. In addition, the motor business is flourishing.

1-Saudi women are getting more opportunities in sports. For the first time women were able to cheer for their teams at the stadiums and not just watch them on screen as it used to be. The good news in sports also include allowing school girls to have sport classes in public schools and opening up more opportunities for women to represent the Kingdom internationally.

2- A royal decree allowed Saudi women to get served at government departments without male guardians’ permissions. In the same line the Ministry of Commerce and Investment announced that Saudi women can start their businesses without approvals from male guardians.

3- Saudi divorced women can now benefit from the Alimony Fund at the Ministry of Justice to cover the expenses they need for themselves and their children. The ministry has also canceled all cases of men forcing their wives to return to homes through “House of obedience”. Furthermore, Saudi courts now have female sections that ease the follow up process for females especially in relation to personal status issues.

4- A Saudi royal decree has identified sexual harassment as a criminal act and thus a law is set to punish violators. The royal decree considers sexual harassment as a danger that faces families and the society, one that goes against Islamic principles and local traditions. 

5- The General Directorate of Public Security allowed Saudi women to join the military as soldiers.

6- The Commission for Tourism and National Heritage allowed Saudi women to get tourist guide licenses.

7- The General Authority for Civil Aviation is to prepare Saudi women to work in air traffic control.

8- Saudi females can have higher diplomas in law. The three-year training program offers law licenses and quality students to join the market immediately.

9- The Ministry of Information and Culture ordered the ban of any program or television series that defame Saudi women.

Significant appointments
1- Princess Reema bint Bandar appointed as president of Saudi Federation for Community Sports, she is also the deputy president of the Saudi Sports Authority for Planning and Development.

2- Fatimah Baeshen appointed spokeswoman of Saudi Embassy in Washington.

3- Tamader Al-Rammah appointed Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Development.

4- Iman Al-Ghamdi appointed Assistant Mayor of Al-Khobar Municipality for Information Technology.

5- Princess Lulwa Al-Faisal, Lana Saeed and Raja Bahadhiq were appointed at the Council of Family Affairs.

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