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Breaking Down Barriers: Saudi Arabia’s Fight Against Gender Discrimination

At the Best Diplomats conference, the Saudi Arabian envoy called for women’s empowerment and their rights.

The major purpose of the Best Diplomats’ Conference was to empower women and encourage their efforts to make the world a better place. 

According to Saudi Arabia’s envoy, overcoming historical difficulties is critical. He stated that Saudi Arabia recognizes the historical challenges it has experienced in achieving gender equality. Deep-seated cultural and societal conventions have posed considerable hurdles to women’s rights and prospects at times.

The delegate emphasized the need for collaboration with nations such as Sweden, which is known for making impressive gains in gender equality. “This collaboration entails the exchange of best practices, the implementation of robust educational initiatives, and the creation of economic avenues for women,” he said, adding that cooperation is a critical catalyst in realizing women’s full potential on a worldwide scale.

According to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, despite certain advances, women in Saudi Arabia continue to face discrimination in marriage, family, and divorce. Concerns have also been raised concerning the Saudi government’s targeting and repression of women’s rights activists and movements.

Significant improvements have occurred in recent years, such as the elimination of tight clothing standards, the abolition of enforced gender segregation, and the lifting of the prohibition on women drivers. Furthermore, changes were made to the guardianship system, which formerly limited women’s ability to travel or leave their homes without the presence of a male family member.

Feminism may be traced back to the ancient Nabataean Kingdom, even predating the Roman era, when women had autonomous legal standing. Initiatives such as the women’s right to drive movement and the struggle against male guardianship have characterized feminist movements in Saudi Arabia in the twenty-first century.

Let us take a peek at how Saudi Arabia has worked to improve women’s rights issues.

These steps include encouraging and supporting equitable access to excellent education for women and girls, ensuring they have similar learning and skill-building opportunities as their male counterparts. Implementing policies and programs that encourage women to work, such as steps to close gender pay disparities and offer equal compensation,

In 1960, King Saud signed a momentous royal edict ensuring the availability of public schools for females across the country. Following this momentous milestone, the first women-only higher education institution was created in 1970. Saudi Arabia decided to offer national ID cards for women in 1999, taking another step towards gender equality. Furthermore, the monarchy took a praiseworthy position in 2005 by prohibiting forced marriages.

Saudi society has seen transformational adjustments in recent years. Strict clothing requirements, gender segregation, and the prohibition on women driving have all been repealed. Furthermore, significant changes were made to the guardianship system, which traditionally limited women’s ability to travel or even leave their homes without the presence of a male family member. These significant actions signal a watershed moment in Saudi Arabia’s march towards greater gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Oleksandra Mamchii

Working as a academic lead at Best Diplomats.

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