UN Country Team celebrates the International Women’s Day 2015 for the first time

Mar 8, 2015

In 2015, International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated globally on 8 March, highlighted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, a historic roadmap signed by 189 governments 20 years ago that sets the agenda for realizing women’s rights. While there have been many achievements since then, many serious gaps remain.

Major social, political and economic developments have influenced the role of Saudi women. Saudi women are achieving an incredible amount of success despite all the challenges in the country. Notable progress has been achieved in the Kingdom in the status of women in education, employment, and health as well. 

To this end, the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is “Empowering Women - Empowering Humanity: Picture It!” In the light of this global event, two panel discussions were held by the UN Country Team in Saudi Arabia at UN-House Auditorium, Diplomatic Quarter from 10:00 am to 12:30 pm, to celebrate achievements and determination by Saudi women who have played an extraordinary role in their communities. The two panel discussions were on (i) Saudi women in leadership and (ii) Saudi women economic empowerment.

The event started with opening remarks by the UN Resident Coordinator, Dr. Ashok Nigam, saying that Saudi women entered the private and public sector workforces and were able to achieve many of their ambitions. This year, for the first time, women will be able to vote and run as candidates in municipal elections. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has taken landmark decisions since acceding to the throne to help development in Saudi Arabia on all fronts. Progress in Saudi Arabia is being recognized with as recently as last week the Arabian Business magazine ranking 21 Saudi women in the top 100 list of the most powerful Arab women.

Through his speech, he highlighted the role of the Post 2015 agenda, which will further improve the lives of people everywhere, in particular women.

The event was moderated by Mohammed Bazaid, a producer and a former TV and YouTube show host.

First session;

Saudi Women in Leadership, included four panelists with three main focus areas;

1. Women in the Shoura Council, Dr. Hamdah Al Anazy and Dr. Thuraya Al Arrayed, Members of the Shura Council.

2. Women in Academia by Dr. Amal Fatani, Consultant and General Supervisor for Female Affairs at the Ministry of Higher Education. Associate Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology Pharmacy, King Saud University.

3. Women in leadership by Amal Al Mouallimi, Head of Women section in King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue.

The second session, which discussed Saudi Women and Economic Empowerment, had three panelists who discussed their work on women Economic Empowerment and how their organizations are helping women economically.

1- Hanan Al Samari, Head of Princess Madawi Bint Musaed Fund for Women Development

2- Rasha Al Turki, CEO at Al-Nahda Philanthropic Society for Women.

3- Nouf Al Rakan, Chairlady for Businesswomen section at Riyadh Chamber.

The Saudi Women Economic Empowerment session discussed the support given to women economically to establish small businesses.

The event was attended by Shura Council members, representatives from the government, academia, private Sector, NGOs, UN Agencies, youth organizations and diplomats’ wives.

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