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Royal concern about gender parity in KSA

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10th-Apr-2018       
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Dr. Md. Shairul Mashreque:
Gender equality is the demand of the contemporary world. This is a global movement in favour of women empowerment to ensure such equality. While the world has been trying to make  progress towards gender equality and women's empowerment including equal access to primary education between girls and boys, women  continue to 'suffer discrimination and violence in every part of the world.Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world.Providing women and girls with equal access to education, health care, decent work, and representation in political and economic decision-making processes will fuel sustainable economies and benefit societies and humanity at large.'
The women of Saudi Arabia is perhaps beginning to hope  'unlike ever before, for now they will be allowed greater freedom and perhaps play select sports - and drive. These efforts to bring gender parity are among a series of sweeping social and economic changes being orchestrated by the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to bring Saudi Arabia into a global leadership role in the 21st century.'
The transformational year like 2017 witnessed a series of initiatives 'designed to improve gender equality, promote economic diversification, root out corruption and make it more open and attractive to visitors.' To cite a report:
Behind a vast majority of these path-breaking initiatives was Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the world's youngest defence minister, who, at 32, was elevated to the position of crown prince June 2017. Initiatives he has taken form part of the "National Transformation Programme 2020" and the Kingdom's "Vision 2030", guidelines of which he outlined in 2017.
The most momentous of these have been on gender equality. For the first time, girls in public schools will be allowed to play sports and get physical education. The women of Saudi Arabia will be allowed to enter some of the country's sports stadiums, earlier an all-male preserve, while a royal decree issued last September will allow women the right to drive in the country, beginning June.
Women vocals and prominent personalities are all of praises for Salman's overarching concerns addressing gender discrimination. They feel that non-participation of women in the mainstream of community life has resulted in huge revenue loss. So able women must not be left out so far as educational and public services are concerned.
A veteran female leader expected:
   Increased empowerment of women in the future, and they will play a more active and vital role in the decision-making process in various fields in the public and private sectors. In an interview with the press, Al-Munea - a writer herself - based her belief on the fact that women have not been included on the list of those involved in corruption, in addition to the fact that they're highly educated." Women are more careful about accuracy in work and integrity. They hold positions and are untainted by any manifestation of corruption," she told an Arabic daily. She also expressed her firm belief that this will happen if and when efficiency - in addition to integrity and competence - is one of the criteria of choice rather than gender in appointing personnel to leadership positions. She lauded King Salman's move of forming a supreme committee to stamp out corruption, going after persons accused of wrongdoing and punishing them if and when they're found guilty.
She added that they should not be spared no matter what their positions or status in life are so that the initiated administrative reform will succeed, which heralds a better tomorrow for the nation as well as for the Saudi people. In the public sector, women have shown their brilliance and competence. Ten women out of 30 retained their posts as Shoura Council members when the Kingdom reshuffled the consultative body in early December last year.
We  welcome Salman's realization about the right placement of Saudi women "The Quran states that men and women were created to be equal parts of a pair. Muhammad said that the rights of women are sacred and that they are the "twin halves of men". Considering women in Britain received the right to vote, inherit and own property thirteen centuries later, Muhammad's campaigns were both radical and revolutionary. 'We can find from the texts of Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) Farewell Sermon that the Prophet of Allah spoke categorically over the women's right that we often talk about these days. Prophet (PBUH) of Islam is the person who spoke openly 1428 years ago to grant women's rights.' Salman is going on along the right track not other way around. He is thinking rightly in line with the real values of Islam - the path of Muhammed (PBUH).
(The writer is a former professor of Chittagong University). 

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