Saudi Appoints 10 Women in Senior Roles at Holy Mosques

The two holy mosques previously recruited 41 women in leadership positions in 2018, according to Saudi media.
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Saudi Appoints 10 Women in Senior Roles at Holy Mosques

Saudi Arabia has appointed 10 senior women at the two holiest sites of Islam, authorities said Sunday, as the conservative petro-state seeks to boost women's employment.

In the Islamic kingdom, which is in the midst of a wide-ranging liberalization push led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, women are rarely named to senior roles at religious institutions.

According to a statement released by the general presidency for the affairs of the two holy mosques, the women were named in the two holy mosques in Mecca and Medina through various departments including administrative and technical.

The recruitment drive was aimed at “empowering Saudi women with high qualifications and capabilities”, the statement said.

The two holy mosques previously recruited 41 women in leadership positions in 2018, according to Saudi media.

Prince Mohammed has sought to boost employment for women as part of his “Vision 2030” plan, which is aimed at diversifying the kingdom’s economy and ending its addiction to oil.

The number of working women in Saudi Arabia reached 1.03 million in the third quarter of 2019, 35 percent of the total workforce, compared to 816,000 in 2015, according to official figures.

Women in the Kingdom are now permitted to drive cars in other changes, cinemas have reopened and genders are allowed to mix at events, including concerts, and in public places.

But a crackdown on dissent has also accompanied the reforms.

Saudi Arabia has arrested a dozen women activists who have long advocated for the right to drive, causing international criticism, and taken them to court.

Some of the activists claim interrogators tortured them and sexually harassed them.

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