Some prominent Saudi women, who have excelled in their respective fields, were invited on the occasion to highlight their journey toward success.
The Saudi women, in their speeches, accepted the fact that apart from their desire to succeed and their will to persevere by dint of hard work, it was their family’s encouragement and support that carried them to the place they are in today.
Chief Guest Dr. Nazneen Rahman, wife of Indian Consul General Md. Noor Rahman Sheikh, spoke about the importance of the International Women’s Day and various programs for women empowerment.
“It is also the day to mark the acceleration of gender parity, and every year the United Nations recognizes a particular theme, and in 2017, the theme is ‘Women in Changing World of Work’ — #BeBoldForChange,” Rahman said in her address.
“See the past and the present scenario, what field we’ve not yet touched. Be it in business, politics, sports, aviation, science, literature and arts — what have we not yet touched? We have even gone to space and explored that frontier,” she said, calling for recognition of women’s efforts and success.
“Salute to women’s empowerment, salute to women’s hard work, their determination, courage and their exceptional contributions to society,” she said lauding the role of women in society.
Expounding her ideas to bring change, Rahman said, “We should start things from the ground level, grassroots level. In India, we have already started mass education for girls and boys, we have started teaching them about stereotypes and the violence prevailing around the world. We can say many things, but we need to put these things into action.”
She rounded off her speech by saying, “I’m proud to be a woman, as we all women should.”
Among others, Rasha Hefzi, who was among the first women to be elected municipal councilors in Jeddah in 2015, was also present. She revealed the efforts needed to participate and win when the doors were open for women to contest the municipal elections.
She explained that she took this route to represent citizens’ needs and bridge the gap between civil society and the public sector and in her role she leads various community development initiatives.
Samar Fatany, a senior journalist and former chief broadcaster in English Section of Jeddah Broadcasting Station, stressed the need for women empowerment in order to sustain global peace. “A woman who keeps the family bonds strong brings this quality to the workplace too. We are 50 percent of humanity and we need to play our role in bringing peace to the world,” she said.
Yasmeen Al-Maimani, the second Saudi commercial pilot in the Middle East and a successful businesswoman, spoke about how one needs to decide on what you need to do and go with your conviction. She described the ginger steps she took to achieve her dreams of soaring to the skies. She attributed her success to her family’s acceptance and support.
Rahaf Al-Saiari, a marketing specialist at Effat University who went on to become UN’s first Saudi Youth Ambassador for Human Rights International, said, in comparison her choice of career was thrust on her when she participated at the UN event. “The role enabled me to think about the issue and I presented an application to detect human rights violations when I participated with two other students from Effat University in the Global Solutions Lab in June 2016,” she said.
Nouf Al-Marwaai, president of Arab Yoga Foundation, Jeddah, who earned a name in clinical psychology, entrepreneurship and consultancy in wellness, lifestyle, yoga and Ayurveda, shared her success story, but spoke largely on health that is a driving factor in women empowerment.
Dr. Rahman honored the Saudi speakers with mementos. She honored Indian teacher Zeba Habib Kidwai for her contribution to promotion of Hindi language for the last 27 years with a certificate as a token of appreciation.
Prominent members of the Indian community with their families and members of the media were in attendance.
Khaled Almaeena, editor at large of Saudi Gazette, also attended the event.
Two documentaries named “Women Scientists of India Mangalyaan” and “Inspiring Indian Women Achievers” were screened for the audience. A quiz contest was also organized.
Classical Bharat Natyam dance and songs (Hindi and Arabic) were performed by members of the Indian community.