Women's participation in the public sphere
According to data from the World Bank and the OECD, illiteracy in Saudi Arabia has fallen to below 4 per cent and more and more school leavers are now entering higher education. Press releases boast about Saudi higher education institutions for moving away from entirely face-to-face delivery, to using digital learning tools, such as e-texts and online learning systems, but what about the effect of distant and e learning on women in Saudi Arabia?
Nihal Saad Zaghloul is an Egyptian woman in her late twenties. Like other young women, she faces the daily risk of sexual harassment on the streets of Cairo. But Egypt’s revolution made her realise that people can unite and that she can make a difference.A trend of mob rapes has risen rapidly in Egypt as political stability and social security have diminished post-revolution. Together with a friend she founded an organisation called Basma to raise awareness about sexual harassment in the streets of this metropolis of 30 million.
When Saudi Arabia permitted women to vote but not drive, a newspaper cartoon last year captured the double standard with dark irony. As a group of women in burqa wait in line to vote at a polling station in Riyadh, an aggressive-looking polling agent tells the women, “We have a small problem here. We need your driver’s licence as identification.”
Saudi Arabia has permitted its first group of women to practise law in the Kingdom's courts. Four female lawyers were granted licences by the Ministry of Justice on Sunday, allowing them to change their status from legal consultants to attorneys, according to local media.
“The main goal of Maharat is to build capacity. It is an employability programme; it aims at building capacities of youths, to provide them with all the skills they need in the labour market. We came up with 10 competences that have to do with behaviour,” said Nayef Z. Stetieh, president and CEO of BDC.'
Read more at jordantimes.com
A group of Saudi activists has begun another campaign to lift the ban on women driving, urging women to get behind the wheel on 26 October in defiance, according to its website.
Read more at theguardian.com
The 3rd Arab Women Sports Tournament, which will take place in Sharjah from Febrary 2-12 2014, will cover seven different forms of athletics to be contested by the clubs, namely basketball, volleyball, table tennis, shooting, fencing, archery, and track and field. The event will be held under the patronage of Shaikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.
Saudi Arabia's secretive ruling family is mulling allowing women to attend soccer matches. No Saudi official has suggested that the controversial issue is under discussion but if past experience is any indication, a series of statements and denials suggests that a debate is underway.
In the UAE, according to a report by Al Masah Capital, women own or run about 30 per cent of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Arab Women Leadership Outlook suggests that one in every eight firms in the Middle East and North Africa region is female-owned and more than 30 per cent of women entrepreneurs in the region owned large firms employing more than 250 workers.
Read more at The National.