For the first time since the county was founded in 1932, Saudi Arabia has a female spokesperson. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never had a female in a similar position, until now.
Appointing Fatimah Baeshen as a spokesperson for the Saudi Embassy in Washington, DC is a new victory for women's rights in the kingdom.
When it comes to women's rights, Saudi Arabia is ages behind. With a strict male guardianship system in place, Saudi women need the consent of a male guardian before making any life decision. Travel, getting medical treatment or getting a job requires that guardian's consent.
Being ranked 141 out of 144 for gender equality by the World Economic Forum, Saudi women's rights still have a long way to go.
However, in a world that is gradually shifting away from oil, being a modern, open society is necessary for attracting foreign investments.
Slow but Steady Progress
After Mohammed Bin Salman's appointment as the crown prince, Saudi Arabia has been going through massive social and economic reforms. Those changes are necessary for Saudi Arabia to position itself as a modern state and achieve its vision for the future.
In the wake of the much-anticipated decision of allowing Saudi women to drive, Saudi Arabia took another progressive step by appointing its first female spokesperson.
After the embassy announced her appointment as their official spokesperson, Fatimah expressed her pride in being appointed to such an important position:
“Proud to serve the Saudi Embassy in the US as the spokeswoman. I’m grateful for the opportunity, the support, and well wishes,” Fatima tweeted after her appointment.
The Right Person in the Right Place
Appointing qualified women such as Fatimah in leadership roles can empower other women and gradually change Saudi society's views of working women.
Fatimah has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Chicago.
With a wealth of consultancy experience in socio-economic strategy for reputable institutions, such as the World Bank, the Islamic Development Bank and the Emirates Foundation for Youth Development, Fatimah is well-qualified for her new position at the Saudi Embassy.
Despite having a long way to go, the Saudi women's rights file has been witnessing a steady improvement in progress. We can hope the winds of change will keep blowing on the kingdom and transform it for the better.