How can we empower women?


Al-Hayat newspaper

The empowerment of women is widely mentioned nowadays. However, one is surprised at how this term is used by different writers to mean different things. Some view it as a Western term that aims to distract women from their essential tasks and get them to constantly fight with men, while others view it as an idea that is rooted in social decadence.

The second group believes that empowering women is harmful because it will make women go out and work with men, thus exposing them to harassment. A third group views empowerment as a way to help women participate in society and play a more active role while their rights and dignity remain protected.

Whenever there is an issue concerning women in society, people always have different opinions. Everyone claims that their number one priority is the protection of women’s rights and interests when in fact everyone is looking after themselves and personally benefitting. Unfortunately, many of those who claim that they are strong advocates of women’s empowerment are in fact pretenders whose actions speak louder than their words. They talk, talk, talk, but they do not take action. Let me even say that they pretend to be in support of empowering women but in reality they are against it and do not allow their own wives and sisters to leave home.

The latest decisions taken by the government have helped unshackle women and have given them more freedom. The whole world has been rejoicing since learning about the new measures taken by the government to give women their rights that do not contradict with Shariah.

For the government, women’s empowerment means that women should be treated as important members of society, and able to participate politically, socially and economically. Moreover, women should be provided with an environment that will help them enjoy their full rights and play a pivotal role in developing the Kingdom and its economy, and expedite efforts toward the Kingdom’s sustainable development by 2030. This environment will enable women to realize a number of achievements and will put them on an equal footing with men.

However, steps toward empowering women should be taken slowly as women need training and preparation. I hope that women will not be given positions in government agencies like the Traffic Department anytime soon. I believe that women need to be well trained and need to enroll in police academies to be equipped with all the skills a woman needs for these kinds of job. This would ensure that women succeed in what they do, win the public’s trust and prove that they are as capable as men in carrying out such tasks.

Speeding up the integration of women into government agencies might lead to negative results similar to what happened when the concerned authorities tried to expedite the efforts to employ women in malls without training them. The results were negative. We want female traffic officers who are well trained and able to serve all members of society equally and professionally.