Women in leading positions



THE appointment of a Saudi woman as the deputy head of Al-Khobar Municipality was a great and important piece of news. This is not just because she is the first Saudi woman to hold such a position, but there is a dire need for women leaders in key municipal services.

Women are needed in supervisory jobs in several service departments especially after the expansion of commercial and employment activities for them. The presence of women officials is essential to deal with matters concerning them and to evaluate their requirements in the manufacturing and service sectors, especially with many new products entering the market.

Massive employment of women in the private sector is relatively a new phenomenon. Women are the symbol of strength, ambition and success, and they have returned to their natural roles in commercial activity that they used to play in the past.

The successive steps taken by the government will support this trend. They will remove the obstacles before broadening women's participation in national development in line with the Saudi vision and to support their job stability as was achieved recently by the "Qurrah" and "Wusool" programs.

The first program covers 80 percent of the childcare expenses of workingwomen while the second aims to improve transportation facilities for them. Workingwomen in most countries of the world are not granted the kind of childcare and transportation support that their Saudi counterparts enjoy.

We rejoice over and celebrate any measure taken by the government to create jobs for Saudi women so that they can take part in the nation building. Such feelings emanate from the natural and appropriate status of enjoyed by women in Saudi society. We have suffered for a long time due to the false accusations and misconceptions spread by the Western media that Saudi women are being marginalized. This was despite the ground realities in the country and the dignified status enjoyed by Saudi women, whether employed or not. These refute the false allegations, especially as Saudi women have now obtained unprecedented roles in society.

Saudi women have been appointed to top posts in recent years, the like of which we did not witness any time in the past. This must essentially change the stereotype of Saudi women, which should be rectified by highlighting the ground reality. We extend our gratitude to our leaders for the steps they have taken to support and encourage Saudi women in playing their rightful roles.

Amidst this fast tempo of change taking place in the country, what we need today is to invigorate women's role in the tasks they have been assigned. We should be cautious of complacence while praising women who have been appointed to respectful positions. They should carry out the roles expected of them in pushing forward the wheel of development.