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
 
Thanks to foxes of money and oil, Al-Assaf and Al-Na'eemi
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2014-12-18
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Saudi Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf deserves appreciation for the ‘dose’ of reassurance that the Saudi and all GCC markets received from him. The state of horror, which overwhelmed these markets...
What's the sudden panic?
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2014-12-18
Author : Badrya Darwish
The most hilarious thing I read this week, guys, was a report that the government, as a result of the drop in oil prices, might need to borrow from the...
Protecting the future generation
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2014-12-18
Author : Labeed Abdal
The Ministry of Health launched an initiative at all hospitals that includes maternity wards on violence against children, which is an important step to protect children at a young stage...
Unrealistic expectations
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-12-18
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
To understand the recent changes, we may have to re-evaluate the political and military situation in Syria. We may also have to ask the following question: If Russia hadn't sided...
Women's compulsory happiness
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-12-18
Author : Nawar Fakhry Ezzi
At this time and age in Saudi Arabia, what would a woman's "complete life" look like? The social norms entail that a woman's "ultimate happiness" lies in getting married to...
Saudization is detrimental
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-12-18
Author : Idris Al-Drees
We, the Arabs, are only marginal figures or consumers among the actors that make up modern civilization. This is simply because we have not contributed anything to the creation of...
Might Bashar Assad soon be in the dock?
Source : The Daily Star  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Marten Youssef
As Russia attempts to broker peace talks on Syria, it will undoubtedly maintain its support for President Bashar Assad. The probability that Assad's exit would be part of a political...
Iran Nuclear Talks à la Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations
Source : The Counter Punch  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Ismael Hossein-zadeh
Soon after the Iran nuclear talks were recently extended for another seven months (beyond the November 22, 2014 deadline), President Rouhani spoke with the Iranian people in a televised address...
What is behind Hamas-Iran rapprochement?
Source : Aljazeera.com  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Fatima Ahmad Alsmadi
Can Hamas turn down Iranian calls to renew their ties to their previous level? The answer to this question is one big no. The reason for this is due to...
The Doha summit: Testimony that the GCC has not fragmented
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Raghida Dergham
Signs of pragmatism have emerged in the ranks of the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which has convened a summit in Doha to agree on shared grounds while...
The Russians will not let go of Assad and neither will we
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Abdulrahman al-Rashed
To understand the recent changes, we may have to re-evaluate the political and military situation in Syria. We may also have to ask the following question: If Russia hadn't sided...
Economic growth impaired by corruption in Arab countries
Source : Oman Daily Observer  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Haider Al Lawati
When we examine the score of the Sultanate in the 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) published by Transparency International based in the German capital Berlin, over the past years, we...
Deceiving unsuspecting patrons
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Tariq A. Al-Maeena
The local social media airwaves are buzzing about the speed and alacrity with which the city's municipality has shut down restaurants, cafes and other outlets serving prepared food and has...
Working to pacify Iran
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Mohammed Fahad Al-Harthi
Iran has historically been the most troublesome country in the region, a chronic spoiler stymieing efforts to bring about political cooperation for everyone's benefit....
GCC Summit restores unity of purpose
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2014-12-17
Author : Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheg
I write this week from Doha, where Qatar hosted the 35th GCC Summit, which was quite successful, whether measured by the high level of representation, the consensus it portrayed, or...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
  2 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Sat Dec 20, 2014| 27-صفر-1436هـ
Iraq Kurds press fightback as top rebel reported killed
Riyadh Metro opens career routes to Saudi graduates
30,000 Syrian refugees at risk of statelessness
Gulf braces for tough times as vital oil revenues fall
Top Saudi scholars rap massacre in Peshawar
GCC chambers to honor inventors
Qatar, Turkey widen ties
Iran delivers over 1Bln liters of jet fuel to airlines in 9 months
Kuwait court jails three IS supporters
UAE stands out among GCC peers: Barclays
One million wounded, diseases spreading in Syria: WHO
EPA, KNPC teams trying to contain 800-meter-long oil spill at Abdullah Port - Al-Enezi
Iran urged to show more flexibility
Saudi, UAE consumers trust supermarkets, banks more
National Day parade one of the best in GCC: Visitors
Tourism 'hit by hotels clamp'
    Newspaper Editorials
Right approach by Palestinians
Improving Kingdom’s education system
More>>  
    Opinions
The Reality of the de Mistura Plan for Syria
South Yemen and the question of secession
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    Reports
The US Shale Revolution and the Arab Gulf States
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
Ethnography, Anthropology and Migration to the Arabian Peninsula: Themes from an Ethnographic Research Trajectory
Can the EU Still Inspire Integration in the Gulf?
Security Dynamics of East Asia in the Gulf Region
    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  |   54-- 54 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 54 - 54--en--sess-enreq-en-coming