Launch of the Arab Women’s Forum in Dubai

The change in the kingdom is ‘profound’ and ‘historic’, Princess Reema told the Arab Women’s Forum in Dubai

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia has millions of talented and motivated women eager to help the Kingdom grow, Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States, said in a speech at the Top CEO conference at the Palazzo Versace Hotel in Dubai on Tuesday.

Speaking via video at the start of the Top CEO Conference and Awards – the first to take place in person after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic – she said Saudi Arabia and the Arab world had recently experienced “ a profound and historic change for women in Saudi Arabia in the region.

“We know that nations cannot keep half their talents aside and expect to grow, to transform,” she explained.

“We have millions of talented and motivated women willing to contribute, and they are the key to social, cultural and economic progress in the Kingdom and, frankly, in the Arab world and the world.

“As a business leader in the Kingdom, when doors for women were just beginning to open, I realized that opening doors was not enough. Women had to be ready to take advantage of these open doors, and we have to give them the necessary skills.

Thanking the event’s CEO, Julien Hawari, for inviting her to speak, Princess Reema discussed Saudi Arabia’s strategies to tackle uncertainties that could hamper progress, as well as the country’s plan. in economic diversification, environmental sustainability and gender diversity.

And she described the TOP CEO conference as an event that brings together what she called a “remarkable group of business leaders.”

She commended the Kingdom for being proactive in tackling the coronavirus pandemic head-on by taking the necessary public health and economic security measures.

As a result, she said, the Kingdom was now well positioned to become a global leader, adding that she saw the country’s Arab population as young, educated, tech-savvy and as a result its markets were booming. growth — driven by technology and innovation.

“As part of Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s bold plan to restructure the Saudi economy, we are diversifying away from energy dependence. We are embracing technology and sustainability and creating an inclusive society for all and opening up opportunities for young entrepreneurs,” she said.

According to Princess Reema, the country began its metamorphosis more than seven years ago, and it was still changing.

“It will be less reset and more rebooted,” she said, “in part because we have recently seen profound and historic changes for women in Saudi Arabia in the region,” she said.

She went on to recall how when she was CEO of one of the Kingdom’s retailers, her workplace was the first in the country to offer daycare, which was unheard of at the time.

“In Saudi Arabia, I didn’t just see the change, I experienced it. I know how important it is to open the workplace to women, and not just to encourage and promote equality and fairness, but to plan for it… Because we have understood that even if the doors were open, we didn’t just have to prepare the women, we had to welcome them,” she said.

Beyond this, Princess Reema has worked actively with women to prepare them to join the workforce by providing training and financial education courses.

She told the audience that Saudi Arabia had more female graduates than males and that women had entered the workforce without fear in less than a generation – the world took notice. Apple recently opened an all-female coding school in Riyadh, and the opportunities are growing.

The Princess explained that although the country has made great progress, there is still a lot to do. She said Saudi Arabia must continue to prioritize renewable, sustainable, technology-driven and green initiatives so that the Kingdom can create a more resilient public sector while fostering a robust private sector.

“We ‘reset’ by championing innovation, encouraging inclusion by creating an environment where young people have a better future than their parents. And this is the future. The future we must build together, harnessing the creativity and ingenuity of all our citizens and rewarding business leadership that values ​​diverse and inclusive workplaces and supports the creation of innovative and creative ecosystems where everyone can participate and contribute,” she concluded.

  • Arab News is a media partner of the Arab Women’s Forum and the Top CEOs Conference and Awards

Melvin B. Baillie