With pride, pride and love, I extend my sincere congratulations to our wise leadership, the royal family and the Saudi people on the 91st National Day, which falls on Safar 26, 1443 AH / September 23, 2021 AD. Any chronicler of Saudi women’s gains and achievements during the reign of King Salman during the past seven years, from January 23, 2015 to the present day, perceives a qualitative leap for women that took place in this auspicious era through historic and daring royal decrees and decisions that granted Saudi women rights granted by the Creator and denied by the creature decades and centuries ; As these decisions removed the restrictions imposed on Saudi women according to the opinions and jurisprudence provisions of centuries ago, and attributed to God’s law, which disavows them, which provided more rights for women at various levels, which raised the percentage of working women in the Kingdom. In the speech of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman in the Shura Council on November 20, 2017, pledged to continue efforts “to empower Saudi women and raise their participation rates in the public and private sectors.”
The economic participation rate of women increased from 19.4% at the end of 2017 to 23.2% at the end of the second half of 2019 to 25% in 2020, and this is one of the goals of Vision 2030. Saudi women have also started driving since June 24, 2018, in implementation of the historic order issued by King Salman on September 26, 2017.
On February 14, 2018, women were allowed to start their own business and benefit from government services without the consent of a male guardian. The woman also assumed the presidency of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) Board of Directors, and in 2019 AD, Saudi businesswoman Lubna Suleiman Al-Olayan was appointed president of SABB First Bank. It is the result of the merger of the first bank (formerly Saudi Hollandi) and Saudi British Bank (SABB), to be the first precedent of its kind in appointing a woman to this position in the Kingdom. Executive Director of Samba Financial Group, and she was the first Saudi woman to hold this position in the Kingdom.
However, at the forefront of the rights that Saudi women obtained during the reign of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, was granted the right to obtain passports and leave the country without the condition of the guardian’s approval on August 2, 2019, when she is entitled to travel after reaching 21 years. The amendments at the family level also granted her the right to report the newborn as its mother, and the right to request obtaining the family registry from the Civil Status Department. The woman has the right to report deaths, and the woman will be the head of the family equally with the husband in the case of minor children, and in Article (9) of the draft personal status code, the completion of the age of 18 set the minimum age for marriage for both spouses, and this draft did not specify the age of seven years to expire. The right of the mother to custody of her male child and nine years of custody of her daughter, and it was sufficient in Article (138) to specify that the child under child complete (15) years of his life in order to be given the right to choose residence with one of his parents unless the interests of the child require otherwise. “We note here that the boy and girl are equal at the age of choice,” as we find in paragraph (2) of the same article that custody ends if the child under custody (male and female) has completed eighteen years.
Divorce was also eliminated due to incompetence of lineage in Paragraph (2) of Article 14 of this Code, which made “the test of a man’s competence in his religion, and efficiency is not considered otherwise, and the house of obedience that was taken from French law was abolished.
Also, during the reign of King Salman, women assumed positions in decision-making positions in various fields, including:
• In the field of human rights: the appointment of 13 women to the new council of the Human Rights Commission, representing half of the council’s members.
• In the educational field: Dr. Lailat Al-Safadi was appointed as president of the Electronic University, as the first woman to head a Saudi university with students of both sexes.
• In the military field: the appointment of the first woman in the Royal Guard.
• In the diplomatic field: Princess Rima bint Bandar was appointed as the Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States on February 23, 2019, and on October 22, 2020, Ms. Amal Al-Mouallimi was appointed ambassador to Norway.
• In the parliamentary work, women were included in the position of “investigation lieutenants” for the first time in the Public Prosecution in August 2019.
On October 25, 2020, the Ministry of Justice appointed one hundred legally qualified female notaries to the post of notary. In this context, the number of licensed female lawyers in the Kingdom increased by 66% compared to 2019; As their number was 618 female lawyers, it rose to 1029 female lawyers by the end of 2020, and in early 2016, a first judicial precedent occurred when Saudi lawyer Jihan Qurban obtained the title of “Local and International Judicial Court.”
Women have made great achievements during the reign of King Salman. In the scientific field, Dr. Fatima Baothman, assistant professor at King Abdulaziz University, won an international award at the Artificial Intelligence Talks (VB) Summit, which was held in San Francisco, America, and the two Saudi researchers, representatives of Taif University, won an international award. Dr. Wafaa Al-Talhi and her colleague, Dr. Asma Al-Amoudi, were awarded the “L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science in the Middle East” fellowship program in its sixth session.
Saudi researcher Dr. Asmaa Al-Amoudi was also honored, in the doctoral student category, in recognition of her research on the development of the use of specific stem cells to treat blood diseases such as leukemia.
Saudi women have also made global achievements in other fields, including the sports field; Sarah Al-Juma’a (athletics) and Maryam Al-Muraisel (table tennis) participated in the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games,
Yasmine Al-Dabbagh (runner) also participated in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
It is truly the golden age of Saudi women.
May your honor be long, O homeland.. May God prolong your reign, O Salman.