Key developments affected the role of Saudi women in different aspects

including political, economic and social reforms. Although development is

still slow, Saudi women are achieving major accomplishments in spite of all

challenges. Notable progress in the Kingdom on the status of women has

been achieved in different areas; this includes positive change in health care,

education choices, and employment opportunities for women.

The International Women's Day (IWD), which is marked on March

8 every year, celebrates and promotes women’s equality and development. In

Saudi Arabia, change is definitely taking place, the past few years have been

remarkably successful for women in the Kingdom.

In September 2011, King Abdullah announced that women would be

granted the right to participate in AlShoura Councel, and to both vote and

stand for election. In January 2013, King Abdullah appointed 30 women to

the consultative Shoura. In December 2015, women were elected to local

government offices for the first time in Saudi Arabia and it was also the first

time they had the right to vote.

Saudi Arabia is tiptoeing on women progress, but the road is still long

to go. In the International Women’s Day, equality for women is definitely

progress for all. Not engaging women in the development process of the

country will have negative economical social and political impact on the

Kingdom, despite the supposed constraints of traditions and social customs,

female figures have made remarkable contributions to the rise of Saudi

women in different fields.

In the International Women’s Day, the Permeant Saudi Mission to the

UN would like highlights some of the most recent Saudi women


 Mona AlMunajjed has worked over 15 years with various UN

agencies. In recognition of her efforts, she has received the United

Nations 21 Commendation Award.

 Haifaa Al Mansour popular worldwide for directing the movie

‘Wadjda’ which was Saudi Arabia’s first ever-official entry for the


 Bayan Mahmoud Al Zahran became the country’s first Saudi female

practicing lawyer and the following year she opened the country’s

first ever all-female practice.

 Hayat Sindi is recognized as one of the most pioneering women in

science across the Middle East. For her work in diagnostics and

biotechnology she has received accolades from all over the world.

 Somayya Jabarti is the first female editor-in-chief of Saudi Gazette in

2014, and she became the first woman ever to take control of one of

Saudi Arabia’s newspapers.

 Raha Moharrak Moharrak became the first Saudi woman to conquer

Mount Everest. She is also the youngest Arab to achieve the feat. Her

list of achievements also includes scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount

Vinson, Mount Elbrus and various other notable peaks.

 Thoraya Obaid Obaid served as the executive director of the United

National Population Fund for 10 years and as an under-secretary

general of the United Nations. After her tenure, she went on to chair

WLP’s board of directors and become a member of the Shoura

Council. In her work with different governmental authorities, she has

managed to establish many programmes for the empowerment of

women, as a recognition for her efforts Thoraya Obaid receives the

UN Population Award from Deputy in 2015.