Home Page - Gulf in the Media
HomePoliticsEconomy                               Set Gulfinthemedia.com as home page
Opinions
"Postings of opinions published in the Gulf and international newspapers
 Print  Send This Page
Save Listen to this Article
Woman matters   

Arab News - 02 May, 2012
Author: Reem M. Asaad

The simplest right

In one media release, Princess Hessa bint Salman, a well-known female figure and a patron of some women activities in the Kingdom, underscored the significance of various government and private organizations in fulfilling their social responsibility by ensuring the participation of women in the development of national industries.

The press release goes on “Princess Hessa was attending a ceremony where an agreement to establish the women’s wing of the Military Clothes and Supplies Factory in the western region was signed.”

The above hardly turns any heads because the era of King Abdullah was marked by many significant and unprecedented advances in women status and work rights. In fact, never were women able to travel on academic and training scholarships with such ease and support as they are today.

Despite all this, inside Saudi Arabia, women still don’t have the legal right to travel from point A to point B independently without a male driver (personal or other), period. And in my opinion, anything said about women advancing without the right of mobility (or at least proper public transport) is plainly limped. Undoubtedly many influential figures wish they could drive, that regulations were more accommodating or that court rules bent more in their favor but good will alone doesn’t change anything. Only the government can. The usual rhetoric about the public acceptance of women driving no longer flies. Sorry, dear women, you are not independent until you can move freely down your own streets.

An ideal woman

So, the headlines flash out about a Saudi female doctor, scientist or other professional with outstanding award or breakthrough. The press coverage often glamorizes this achievement with plenty of additives on how she overcame cultural barriers with the support of a husband, father or other male relative, a credit that society and local followers expect to see. After a usually engaging — and sometimes inspiring — story of the journey come the reader comments.

In Saudi, the most important aspect of woman participation in public life and economic sphere remains to be … modesty. Her modesty determines whether she is a “fit” Saudi woman or a “model Saudi woman” (i.e. representative of her fellow Saudi women). So if her picture appears in the news, she is judged by the level of coverage on her face. On a scale from completely veiled (face unseen) to bare head — with many variations in between — a woman’s appearance in commented on and therefore the woman gets “labeled” or socially stratified based on the level of modesty.

In fairness, a woman is judged on her looks everywhere in the world, and modesty is a key part of professional appearance yet ranking it as the most critical feature of an achieving woman who serves her community is nothing but ridiculous.

So, who is the “picture perfect” Saudi woman these days?

The majority across the board will probably describe her as a well-covered, (ideally niqab-wearing and at a minimum full hair coverage without makeup) preferably a mother who handles both work and household responsibilities.

Reader comments gauge not only public opinion but also cultural sentiment and perception of the society. Sometimes I skip the headlines right down to these comments just to assess if anything has changed, and I do sense some progress that is a bit too slow for my taste.

Money matters

The banking sector in Saudi Arabia remains to be the most regulated and organized in the economy. Since the seventies, women worked in women-only branches as tellers, customer service representatives and branch managers. My own mother was an officer in one of Jeddah’s most prominent banks, and as a child I accompanied her during school breaks to an office of fewer than ten women. I remember how I was — to my greatest amusement — assigned to small tasks like paper copying or delivery. Two decades later things have not changed much in terms of organizational structure. In fact, it was not until 2001 that the bank at which my mother worked, allowed women a slow and shy entry to more senior and gender-mixed positions. I was among three women appointed in executive roles not limited to servicing women-only. Today, the bank employs at least 100 women in its headquarters in positions ranging from junior assistants to department heads. The journey since then is worth documenting. It involves cultural, religious and technical anecdotes to be taught and to be learned from. Among other writers, I credit the financial industry for bringing to the society a generation of well-trained professional women as well as more relaxed and “female accepting” men who now view women as an integral part of the workplace and not just the social and household scene.

asaadreem@gmail.com
 
IS supporters in Kuwait
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Muna Al-Fuzai
It was no surprise to read the news about Kuwaiti and bedoon suspects who were arrested here a few days ago due to their connection with IS. They would probably...
Saudi women break the barriers!
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Khaled Al Maeena
Forbes Middle East in its 2014 ranking of the 200 most powerful Arab women has included 27 Saudi women....
Prospect of war expansion
Source : Gulf Today  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Julie Pace
President Barack Obama's military campaign against ISIS group extremists has already crept beyond the narrow parameters he first outlined three months ago....
Contractors to fight ISIS
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Khalid Al Sayed
By December 2011, when the US military forces withdrew from Iraq, I wrote in my column that the Obama administration made a big mistake for which the region and the...
British Muslims not obliged to speak against IS crimes
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Remona Aly
The welcome note that greeted my brother, sticky-taped to the front door of his new home in south-east London is - "All Muslims out of the UK!" It is...
ISIS: Illusion versus reality
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Alon Ben-Meir
Much has been said about President Obama's strategy to degrade and eventually "destroy" the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Regardless of the soundness of the president's strategy, to...
Islamic banking: Who is in control?
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Alsir Sidhamed
The Islamic Development Bank's (IsDB) successful sukuk issue clearly demonstrates the market remains open to welcoming this kind of financial activity. Also, the Islamic finance industry should face its challenges...
Help Saudi saleswomen excel
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-09-21
Author : Rasheed Abou-Alsamh
I read with interest the recent news item in this newspaper decrying the lack of sales experience of many of the newly hired Saudi women sales assistants in shops. The...
Sisi's Foreign Policy
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-09-20
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
One hundred days into Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi's presidency, it is time to count up the country's achievements-although this is something that will no doubt depend on a person's political...
On Jordan's true role in the anti-ISIS alliance
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-09-20
Author : Raed Omari
Abandoning diplomatic caution, Jordan is now a member of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Amman has traditionally avoided referring to the jihadist group by...
Qaradawi's Double Standards
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2014-09-20
Author : Tariq Alhomayed
Dr. Yusuf Al-Qaradawi criticized the US-led fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) earlier this week. In a tweet, he said: "I oppose ISIS in its ideological...
India-Bahrain ties gaining momentum
Source : Gulf Daily News  
Date : 2014-09-20
Author : Neeta Lal
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj's visit this month to Bahrain signalled New Delhi's first diplomatic and strategic outreach to Manama since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's election on May 26....
Yemen must end it ... now
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2014-09-20
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Under the pretext of popular demand, the Houthis sneaked into Sana'a and occupied the capital. Their reality and greed was exposed when the battle began to chase them out....
How Islamic State uses Syria's oil to fuel its advance
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2014-09-20
Author : Suleiman al-Khalidi
In an oilfield in northeastern Syria, trucks line up daily to load crude sold cheaply by Islamic State militants who have hijacked parts of the country's energy industry in their...
Iran talks resume, time to play 'Let's make a deal'
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2014-09-20
Author : Daryl Kimball, Kelsey Davenport and Ali Vaez
On Thursday, negotiators from the US, Iran and five other world powers begin the final stretch of negotiations on a comprehensive nuclear agreement. A deal is within reach. But time...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
  2 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Mon Sep 22, 2014| 27-ذو القعدة-1435هـ
Kuwait sets up team to monitor IS sympathisers
Banking conference to draw top speakers
UN announces deal to resolve Yemen crisis
Cruise Arabia sails off to Europe to woo tourists
Iran has 'role' in fighting ISIS militants: Kerry
Higher land prices accelerate rent inflation in Qatar
Qatar Foreign Minister hails formation of new Iraqi govt
Kuwait stock market ends week trading in green zone - report
UAE backs war against ISIS terror
As sanctions bite, Russia eases stance
60,000 Kurds flee Syria, enter Turkey
German trade official warns of missing out on lucrative Iran market
5% of Saudi youth fail to plan for future
GCC audit committee OK's 2015 training plan
UN council briefed on Qatar's steps to protect workers' rights
Etihad Rail inks deal to protect key installations
    Newspaper Editorials
Kabul's unity deal
Heat is on
More>>  
    Opinions
A strategic partnership
Is a deal on Iran's nukes likely?
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
Iran and the P5+1: Getting to 'Yes'
More>>  
    Bank Reports
GCC Markets Performance – May 2014
Saudi Arabia: Baseline Macroeconomic Forecast 2014-16
More>>  
    GRC Analysis
Saudi Arabia and the ASEAN Periphery: Cambodia, Myanmar, and Brunei
NATO and the Future of Gulf Security.
Saudi-Vietnam Relations
    GRC Commentary
Price of not heeding Kingdom's advice
On Relations between Rulers and Citizens: The Need for a New Social/Political Contract in the GCC States
Key Issue Facing the Saudi Ruling House.
    GRC Book Review
Beyond Regionalism? Regional Cooperation, Regionalism and Regionalization in the Middle East
India, GCC and the Global Energy Regime: Exploring Interdependence and Outlook for Collaboration.
    GRC Press Release
Gulf Research Center press releases to the media
    GRC Publications
The Union Moment for the GCC
Regional Disorder and New Geo-economic Order: Saudi Security Strategies in a Reshaped Middle East
GCC Economic Integration: Focus on Nitty-Gritty of Convergence rather than High Profile Projects
    GRC Newsletters/Bulletins

Enter your email to get the Newsletter
Go
      
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | About Us |
Weather | Qibla Directions | Hijri Date Conversion Tool
Full Page :total time:0  |   37-- 37 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 37 - 37--en--sess-enreq-en-coming