Middle Eastern women see bright future amid growing changes – Xinhua
Najla Bouden Romdhane speaks during a ceremony at Carthage Palace in Tunis, Tunisia, Oct. 11, 2021. (Tunisian Presidency/Handout via Xinhua)
“It gives us a good and promising vision of the future and the changes to come,” said a Saudi media specialist.
by Xinhua Editors Wang Zhuolun, Xu Supei and Wang Haizhou
CAIRO, March 7 (Xinhua) — “I think the way to happiness is to be around the people you love, to do the job you love, and to be able to live the way you want,” said Ayesha Al Hamall, now a media specialist for Saudia, the flag carrier of Saudi Arabia.
Changes in the Gulf state have become increasingly visible since 2017, particularly with the introduction of Saudi Vision 2030, as the government implemented a series of measures aimed at bridging the gap between gender in social status, such as ending the ban on female driving and relaxing the male guardianship system, which requires every woman to have a male guardian authorized to make a range of decisions on her behalf.
Consequently, in recent years, more and more women have joined the Saudi labor market, where the female participation rate in the labor market has increased from 20% at the end of 2018 to 33% at the end of 2020.
Gold medalist Feryal Abdelaziz of Egypt poses during the awarding ceremony for women’s kumite +61kg karate at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, Aug. 7, 2021. (Xinhua/Du Yu)
“It gives us a good and promising view of the future and the changes to come,” said Hamall, who earned a bachelor’s degree from King Faisal University as an information systems graduate.
What is happening in Saudi Arabia reflects the efforts of many countries in the Middle East to facilitate women’s access to education, employment and even politics.
In early 2020, the new Lebanese government saw an unprecedented number of six female cabinet members out of 20, including Zeina Akar, the first female defense minister and deputy prime minister in the Arab world. Kuwait appointed eight female judges for the first time the same year.
In 2021, Tunisian geology professor Najla Bouden Romdhane became the Arab world’s first female prime minister, a quantum leap in women’s empowerment in the country and the Middle East. Also during the year, a record number of nine women were elected to Israel’s new government of 26 ministers, and in a historic first, 98 female Egyptian judges were appointed to the country’s Council of State.
Hend Zaza plays table tennis during training in Damascus, Syria, August 5, 2021. (Photo by Ammar Safarjalani/Xinhua)
In the economic realm, a growing number of Middle Eastern women are also breaking professional stereotypes that women in the region have limited options.
According to the findings of Startup Compass, a data collection and consulting firm, the global average percentage of female internet entrepreneurs is 10%, while in the Middle East the proportion is 35%.
Also, Middle Eastern women demonstrate their strength in sports. In some war-torn countries, sport has helped them not only to relieve pressure, but also to gain self-esteem. Some athletes have managed to bring honor to their homeland at international events.
In the summer of 2021, in Tokyo, karateka Feryal Abdelaziz became the first Egyptian woman to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games. Yusra Mardini, a 23-year-old swimmer who was in Tokyo as a member of the Refugee Olympic Team, told the world that “refugees will not give up easily and will continue to pursue their dreams despite the hard journey.”
A woman drives in Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, June 24, 2018. (Xinhua Photo)
Also in Tokyo, Syrian Hend Zaza became the youngest table tennis player in the world to qualify for the modern Olympics. Although she lost in her first match, the 12-year-old made history the moment she stood on the Olympic stage. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad phoned him after the match, expressing his pride on behalf of the Syrian people.
Photo taken on March 7, 2022 shows the exhibition hall of the 18th edition of the International Women’s Fair (EVE) in Algiers, capital of Algeria. (Xinhua photo)
“It’s very difficult, but I had to fight for it. This is my message to all those who are going through the same situation: fight for your dream and do your best, whatever the difficulties you face. meet,” Zaza said. Final article
(Hummam Sheikh Ali in Damascus contributed to the story.)■