TU President: Saudi women broke men’s monopoly over leadership positions

date of publication : 2019-03-14

Al-Fayez: We do not want women to be mere numbers in the census, but an added value and an effective force

TU President Dr. Husam bin Abdul Wahhab Zaman said that Saudi Arabia has made a big leap in the empowerment of women over the last few years. Highly qualified women have been appointed to leadership positions that were once reserved for men. Such new positions include deputy minister, undersecretary of ministry, and ambassador. These views were expressed in an address by TU President, delivered on his behalf by Vice-President Dr. Iman Al-Zahrani, to "Saudi Women Forum: Aspirations and Achievements in Light of Saudi Vision 2030.”

In his speech, Dr. Zaman said, "Today we celebrate the achievements of women in our country in the last few years, and their future aspirations for more successes, having already garnered more legitimate rights sanctioned by our religion and laws, and boundlessly supported by our wise leadership which recognizes the importance of women’s participation in achieving the ambitious development goals of Saudi Vision 2030 and its executive programs, especially the National Transformation Program 2020."

TU President expressed the University’s happiness to honor former Deputy Minister of Education Noura Al Fayez as the first Saudi woman to hold the position of Deputy Minister in the history of Saudi Arabia, stressing that she has shouldered the responsibility and performed her duties efficiently, and provided a model for the new generation of aspiring Saudi girls.

He outlined the achievements of TU’s female faculty in the past few years in assuming leadership positions such as being the first female dean of a Saudi college with faculty members and students of both sexes. With the appointment of other female deans, the percentage of women in the university council rose to about 24% (there is a Vice Dean for Student Affairs and six deans) out of 25 members of the Council, which gives them greater representation and influence in decision-making. Female heads of academic departments, a first in Saudi universities, were also appointed.

Dr. Zaman mentioned that new departments for female students were opened, including two new departments in the College of Engineering, a Department of Physical Education and Sport Sciences, and a new course entitled "Empowerment of Women" was also launched for the first time in the history of the University. He stressed that these steps are only a small part of what has been achieved at Taif University in the field of empowerment of women, adding, "We still aspire for more, the expectations of Taif University and its students are higher, their aspirations boundless." Dr. Zaman noted that female students score higher on their academic achievement records, that in 15 out of 16 colleges in the University female students ranked first, and that the only college where a female student did not obtain first place was the College of Engineering, where departments for female students were opened only this year.

The ceremony included honoring former Deputy Minister of Education Noura Al-Fayez, in recognition of her long career which she began in 1975 to develop girls’ education in the Kingdom, culminating in her appointment as Deputy Minister of Education for Girls' Education. In her speech, Al-Fayez expressed her pride in TU’s recognition of her role, expressing her thanks to all those who participated in the forum for their efforts in preparing, organizing, and celebrating International Women's Day.

The former Deputy Minister of Education stressed that Saudi Vision 2030 is a turning point in the efforts aiming at developing women's conditions, ensuring that they can participate effectively in economic and social development, and seeking to address such issues as education, health, health care, and labor force.

Al-Fayez said, "Saudi women can play a leading role in achieving the country's development goals, be she a mother nurturing beliefs and values, or supporter of the national economy with its large financial assets or high investment properties, or an employee in the public or private sector, whether she works in leadership or executive work.”

She added, "We do not want Saudi women to be mere numbers in the census, but an added value in society and an effective force, and to work side by side with her male compatriots in achieving Saudi Vision 2030 and actively participate in the implementation of the National Transformation Program 2020. We want this prosperous era of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz - may God bless him – to witness the integration of men and women in society, for women are the sisters of men, and on these two pillars nations are built.”

During the meeting, two sessions were held. The meme of the first seminar was "Saudi women: Ambitions and challenges.” The seminar was attended by Dr. Fawzia Al-Bakr, Professor of Educational Resources, Department of Educational Policies, King Saud University, Dr. Maymouna Al-Khalil, Head of the National Observatory for Women, King Saud University, Dr. Samar Al-Saqqaf, Assistant Professor at George Washington University, and Abeer Al-Olayyan, petroleum expert at Saudi Aramco. The session was moderated by Dr. Hanan Anqawi, Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, Taif University.

The second seminar focused on "Saudi Women: Factors and Opportunities for Success." Dr. Majida Abu Ras, Ambassor of Environmental Pioneering, Dr. Munira Al-Mahasheer, member of the e-Learning Pioneer Program at Saudi universities, Dr. Ibtisam Badhrais, Assistant Professor of Nuclear Science Research Institute, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, were participants.