By Beatrice Thomas
Hanan Al Ahmadi says Saudi women capable of holding top positions such as ministers of education, health, information and social affairs
A high-profile member of Saudi’s Shoura council has spoken out in favour of more women in Cabinet after Nora bint Abdullah Al Fayez was appointed the country’s first deputy education minister, it was reported.
Hanan Al Ahmadi, a member of the Shoura Council, said Saudi women were capable of holding top positions such as ministers of education, health, information and social affairs.
“Appointment on women to the Shoura Council is one of the important decisions taken in the history of Saudi Arabia,” she was quoted as saying by the Saudi Gazette.
In comments published in the Arabic press, Al Ahmadi, who was ranked 8th in a list of 30 powerful Saudi women by Arabian Business, urged female Shoura members to rise up to the expectations of King Abdullah, who took the historic decision to induct them to the consultative body.
“We have to do our best to make this experiment a big success,” she said.
Abdulelah Saaty, dean of the College of Business in Rabigh, also supported more women in ministerial positions.
“We have a large number of educated and capable women with high leadership qualities and they deserve such positions to play a major role in the country’s development process,” he was quoted as telling Arab News.
Al Ahmadi said women play a significant role inside the Shoura and had been receiving “good support”.
However, she noted that female Shoura members, like other Saudi women, faced challenges such as the need to get permission from male guardians to travel and apply for a passport.
“This makes us more determined to challenge the rules and regulations that obstruct women empowerment,” she said.