Interview with successful Saudi businesswoman and role model, Muna Abu Sulayman

muna-abu-sulyman1It is a real honor for me to be able to ask some candid questions to Muna Abu Sulayman. She is not only a successful Saudi businesswoman but a beautiful role model for Saudi women as well as women the world over. In addition to her responsible position as Executive Director of Kingdom Foundation and reporting to HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, she is also a media personality, UN Goodwill Ambassador and Young Global Leader. And she also manages her diverse careers as a single working mother.

Muna has kindly allowed me to ask her questions to share with readers towards fostering better understanding and relations and additional insights into the life and experiences of a unique Saudi mother and businesswoman.

To begin with Muna, one does not hear too much publicly about single working mothers in Saudi Arabia. How many children do you have? What were their ages when you divorced? Please share how do you manage to juggle your high profile positions and motherhood?

My girls are 15 and 9. So they are now old enough to take care of themselves and each other. So my job as a care giver is less direction and mostly about follow up.but parenting does take up a significant amount of time. It is from the little things like teaching them good manners, social rules, personal bounderies while also trying to ensure that they reach their potential.

It used to be harder, as we had to find for them all the needed extra curricular activites. Now, they go to schools that have a lot of activities and we no longer have to spend time and money on tutors for art, tennis and so forth…

While they were younger I had only jobs that were either governmental or part time, as I did not want to be too busy or too tired for them. I failed at times, taking on too much, and when I felt stressed out, I would step back.

I am also greatful to the great support net that I have both from my parents, and sisters. They really stepped in when I most needed it.

Have you ever experienced any stigmas or biases against you because of being a Saudi divorcee and single parent? And if so, how have you overcome any of the biases some individuals may hold?

Well, I think there is stigma about divorce in almost all cultures, because there is a break up of a family.

But I think it really depends on how a family handles it. In mine, the divorce was treated as an unfortunate incident.  But one that is not really life was not seen as a catastrophe by anyone close to me. So, I did not feel like my life changed, or that my family now controlled me. So I was very lucky in having very wise parents, who treated me as an adult.

I guess I deal with so many professional people and have mostly old friends, that I did not feel much biases.

Do you believe Saudi society is becoming more accepting of divorce?

Unfortunately, it is. Which means that we are seeing it now used as a first resort in many instances.

Marriage and divorce are not light matters. There should not be a stigma, but at the same time

It should not be seen as easily breakable work contract…

Was it an issue for you to obtain custody of your children?

My divorce was mostly amicable so we did not go to court. We share custody of the kids through arrangement. But I don’t have any legal paper giving me those rights…and I am not sure how to go about getting them. So far, it has worked, but I does bother me that if I go to get them legally, it might antagonize my ex husband and then, I could jeopardize what I have.

Some divorced women probably feel like they are so alone since the topic is not widely or openly discussed in Saudi Arabia. What advice can you offer them towards garnering support; towards being a single parent; towards building a viable career for themselves while not sacrificing quality with their children?

I cant have a general advice to all women, as the socioeconomic situation differs greatly for many of them. I do think that while you are married, and if you feel that you are on a rock ground, that you need to make sure that you have employable skills….Take courses in English, computer usage, soft work skills if you are not working already.

Also, islam gave us the right to save our income. If you can do that, then do it. Even if it means pinching a bit. It is important to have some sort of nest egg for your exclusive use, as not many men actually give alimony (or Nafka) to the women, and many don’t even give adequate child support.

It is a fact, the poorest segment in western society is single mothers. Some of that problem can mitigated by having a strong economical net, or family support.


Please share how you became the Executive Director of the Kingdom Foundation? What is your most enjoyable aspect of this position? And what is the most challenging aspect of this position and why?

I love what I do. I love looking at the best way to leverage HRHalwaleed bin Talal’s money to ensure that it is used in the best possible way. There are many challenging aspects of the job. HRH took a chance on me, as I had to learn a lot of the HR and administrative skills on the job in the first 6 months. But, perhaps the most challenging Is making sure that my employees are doing their best, and that they are also being mentored to reach their potential.

I’m sure that many other Saudi women also inspire to obtain prestigious positions with Kingdom Holdings or other known organizations. What advice can you give to them?

My advice to anyone who wants to work in a prestigious position with any company, not just our foundation, is that they should love what they do. I think many people end up doing a job that they don’t really care about or even hate, just because it is there, and they end up slowly killing themselves..

And what about the expat women who come to the Kingdom. Perhaps they arrived in Saudi Arabia as a dependent spouse but had had their own fulfilling career. What tips can you give to them on how they can find viable and meaningful employment?

Finding a job for an expat is more difficult now a days as there is a saudization effort going full ahead, and also an great increase of well educated and professional Saudi women coming back from abroad.

My advice is that if you happen to work for a Saudi company, that you need to be respectful of the Saudis. Sometimes brilliant Expats are stonewalled because they were too eager to help improve how things are run and don’t know the political undercurrents that are going on. Additionally, you really need to know how things get done. Those cups of tea that you keep having, have a purpose, they are establishing a bond

Also, try to learn Arabic esp. if you are going to work with locals grass root organizations or small retailers. It gives you an edge when you are dealing with locals, and it shows respect of the culture. Or, at least have a team member who can speak Arabic fluently. Many people at the lower echelons of the organization feel a bit threatened when it is that if It is a team of foreigners coming in to tell them how to do their jobs..


How did you become a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Saudi Arabia? What does this position mean to you? What are the most important aspects in representing Saudi Arabia? Does being known as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Saudi Arabia place extra pressure on you? And if so, how do you manage it? Do you feel like you always need to be “on” as a result?

The UNDP post is one that I am most proud of . I do feel that if used properly, it shows how we can start to influence and have candid discussion on international levels.

You are supposed to be always on as a public figure. It does get draining….but, and I am being honest, I have had too many off days….esp. when you are working over time , or the kids are tired, or you are tired…, one tries to manage it as best as one could. But after all, I am human being..and I don’t have a staff of stylists, and support from the industry to help me with my public face…it all depends on me to deliver.

Do you think Saudi Arabia is portrayed accurately and fairly in the global media? And the whole world always seems fascinated and mesmirized by the veiled Saudi woman. Do you think Saudi women in particular are portrayed accurately and fairly in the media? How can Saudi Arabia be better represented globally? What aspects of Saudi culture, customs, traditions or law do you believe need further understanding and promotion by the global media?

That which you don’t know, attracts attention. Veiled woman are an anomaly in the world, a rare breed that seems antithetical to progress and women rights. I personally am not veiled, neither do I believe in the veil as an Islamic cover. However, I do respect it is cultural roots. If a woman chooses to be covered, as many do, I can not value judge her when it does not affect me. Also, the veil has an orientalist connotations of Eastern females over sexualization in western culture. It goes back to how women were viewed from the time of the crusades as the west and east started to interact closely. That compartmentalization of a women being viewed as sexualized and exotic has influenced how we are seen to this day in the west. However, now a days, the added twist is that we are also seen as terrorists…that makes the whole female issue a complicated image that can not be deciphered in 30 second sound bites that we view on TV.

The global media is not interested in portraying the real face of Saudi Arabia. It is interested in promoting a stereotypes for various economical and political reasons. I think it is about time we stop waiting for “the other” to show our real face ,warts and all. We need to actually take control and influence the message and images that comes out of our region.

I admit that we do have major problems in each country. However , for me it is more than females vs. males., more than a question of employment. It is a question of how authoritarian regimes while encouraging progress have actually stemmed it except for its most superficial sense. We need to develop our own view of human rights that are based on Islam and we need to actually apply it.

As for the second part of your question. By reason, tradition and culture evolves. Saudi Arabia has changed. But change and evolution take time…any anthropologist knows this. So we have to be patient while we see where the progress goes….

I understand you are also planning a new business venture. Can you please share what this venture is and your goals and hopes.

I am starting a Hijab fashion business. I do hope to start employing women and other disadvantaged groups to help produce my product. This way, we can encourage economic revitalization for some groups.

Where do you hope to see yourself in five years time?

A business woman working on social entrepernueralship ventures, and human rights.

And where would you like to see the Saudi woman in five years time? What changes would you like to see take place which specifically impact on the Saudi women?

I would like to see the legal structure progress in a way that allows women to work, live their lives without fear. That the beliefe that justice will prevail (esp. in matters of personal law) is something that is taken for granted by our daughters.

The legal system is too complicated and foreboding for most women, and they don’t take refuge in the letter of the law…I do hope that changes as process and procdure and more women friendly courts are created .

Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions and provide readers of my blog some additional insights and understanding of Saudi women. You are indeed a superb example of a successful Saudi woman and a wonderful role model not only for KSA but for women everywhere!

77 Responses

  1. she has a great soul – eve while suffering, she is not a problem to the society rather shining like a beacon light to this world – each one of us can get a leaf out of her book and lead a contended life

    thank you sister for giving insight of a wonderful soul

    my prayers for muna

  2. A great interview with excellent questions. She is obviously an intelligent woman and a nuanced thinker, who also has a supportive family. A very good followup to the more general post on Saudi women.

  3. […] Interview with successful Saudi businesswoman and role model, Muna … […]

  4. Ok forgetting I nearly chocked with the comment that a 9 yr old can take care of him/herself and that parenting becomes more ‘follow up’ and less ‘direction’ because I think it just represents a cultural idea of parenting. .. perhaps… it was an interesting interview.

    I did note that she is scared to rock the boat when it comes to her ex husband and legal documents in regards to her children. Goes back to man having control even when your in higher positions.

  5. I was a bit shocked at first with her statement about the kids being able to take care of ‘themselves and each other’ but then I figured that she probably meant the 15 yr old can take care of the 9 yr old. I think that sounds appropriate if that’s what she meant. A lot of people hire teenagers to take care of their youngsters after school.

  6. I am with the others about the kids being able to take care of themselves. What I read into that is some help from the family and from the housekeepers, nannies and driver.

    Being the father of a 16 year old and a 17 year old, I know even at that age they are not able to work on less direction and more follow up.

    Maybe she didnt want to mention nannies, housekeppers and drivers, but it is a well known fact in Saudi that the majority of middle class and more well off families have them, especially where the mother is tied up with a very busy job with a multi-billion dollar foundation, let alone media commitments.

    I find there is a reluctance to mention all of the domestic help that Saudis have to Western audiences because of the connotations that has in the West.

    It was a very nice interview, but I wish you’d have asked her how she thinks opportunities in Saudi are going to trickle down to those less fortunate rather than staying amassed at the top for those with wealth and connections.

    The opportunties are always going to be there for those are the top. The real litmus test is when it starts becoming common for those without wealth or connections.

  7. I understood the sentence to mean that 9 and 15 year olds are more self-sufficient than younger children, especially preschoolers. Even 9 year olds usually toilet and dress themselves, can pack their own school bag, tell time, prepare cold snacks and drinks, tell someone about their needs, keep themselves amused with safe hobbies, reading, videos etc. , all of which are a boon to the morning and after school routines, when working parents are also trying to get ready for the day or decompress. 15 year olds are also good babysitters, homework checkers, etc. In other words, although parenting is still challenging it is less physically hands on in the basic needs and “where has that toddler with the raisin up his nose gone off to now” sense.:-)

  8. I think within the confines of being a female Saudi public figure in Saudi, and commenting on a Saudi based blog she did a good job of alluding to social inequalities, and their impact on the experience and realities of divorce, on how women with fewer resources can plan, and work, and about the need for change in legislation regarding women. She also plans “to start employing women and disadvanted groups” which is one internationally proven way of helping women and the poor get a start toward self-sufficiency (particularly in textiles). She even tackled human rights and “authoritarian regimes”.

    I found the questions and answers allowed one to see the progression in career choices as the family needs changed, and there was alot of honesty about overextending herself, and needing to pull back (universal female dilemma). The general tone is optimistic and light-handed but the key issues are covered, including the desirability of keeping the best relationship possible during a divorce and after.

    I would assume even a Western audience would expect she had household as well as family help (at least I did) –especially since her social status is clear by the extracurricular activities she mentioned for her children.

  9. I wouldnt have gotten the assumption that she had lots of domestic help from the article if I didnt know anything about Saudi and the Middle East.

    Loads of mothers here in the USA juggle art and tennis tutors, extra activities, many without the help of an extended family, nevermind domestic help.

    I dont think the average Westerner is aware that even people considered lower middle class, in Western terms, would usually have at least a maid and a driver, often one or more nannies as well.

    As a person from the West, with a wider family who has zero clue about the Middle East, I think that would be safe to say.

    In American terms, generally speaking of course, only those people approaching rich, would have a driver and a maid, let alone adding on a nanny or two.

    I know many people who make $250,000 or more a year, in their household, but wouldnt have a nanny, maid or driver.

    It is interesting that even Saudi households of moderate income have what people in the West who approach the top of the food chain do not.

    I grew up and a lot of my best friends were in single mother households, many with 3 or more children juggling everything that comes with that, and didnt have the wealth to afford domestic help nor did they have any extended family.

    Being a single mother in a place like Saudi Arabia is not what being a single mother in a place like the USA is. It could go both ways, it could be worse for the Saudi lady, or in cases like this, much better than the average American could hope for.

    I guess such details would be lost on someone who doesnt have a good grasp of both cultures.

    Again, for me, the key is to how to get these benefits and advances to trickle down to the people without wealth and resources.

    In countries like Saudi there has always been “one law for us and another law for them” as the working class British anthem used to go. Rich women with resources have always been able to get away with more in Saudi.

    The sad fact is, this doesnt always trickle down to those who dont have. Until it does it cannot really be looked at as an advance. It could easily be another instance of “one law for us and another law for them”.

  10. I stand corrected; I’m not an average North American, in that I have lived, studied, and worked in Europe, North Africa, Central America, Asia (and North America of course, both USA and Canada, Mexico only on vacation but studied and written on formally), and have a reasonable grasp of Middle Eastern culture based on conducting formal university-funded research projects based there, intense interviews with Middle Easterners (surprising what you are required to learn in one to two-year long psychotherapies with patients), relevent close friendships, mentoring foreign medical graduates, belonging to a social justice organization with a high proportion of Middle Easterners, and an admittedly brief stay in the Middle East (plan to visit more often and longer, especially if certain remarkable places become bomb-free).

    On the other hand since I have had all these opportunities coming from a relatively average family (although I think of them as special) perhaps I am an average North American afterall. :-)

    My best guess however, is that the average North American– say like my sister who only likes to travel to the US, and except for a family vacation in Europe in her teens, has chosen only 4 northern states plus California and Florida as repeat destinations– would perceive “tutors” for “art, tennis and so forth” as “needed extracurricular activities”, and replaced by all inclusive schools, to be indicative of a higher social class, most of whom employ household help*.

    The same sister, a single parent with a middle class income (Canadian, not US definition, ie above working class), and a good grasp of money (BComm–Dean’s Honour List x 4yrs), does provide various lessons to her offspring but never “tutors”, and not all inclusive private schools, as being beyond her income level, as they are in Canada for all but those with double middle incomes, or upper middle incomes.

    *Personal bias–anyone earning $250,000 USD per year is forgoing household help by choice–of course a choice they have every right to make, but a choice nonetheless–and would usually go for a cleaning lady, and a nanny, in that order.

    To return to Muna Abu Sulayman, whatever her privileges, she seems to have her own priorities straight, including helping the less fortunate through institutional change (legislation, employment) of a country she understands well, her own. In other words, she is cognizant of the necessity of changing the law for all.

    –married to a native of Morocco (land, in North Africa of course, of “les petites bonnes” employed by all but those who are in household service themselves) and whose family (in the extended Arab sense of the term) ranges from the very modest (working class) through the middle, professional, and upper middle classes to the aristocracy (no royals–yet :-) )

  11. I think if you read the whole paragraph regarding her children, you understand that she takes the time to teach them “social manners…ensures their potential…personal boundaries, etc” That would include alot ot things like listening to their problems from school and helping them solve them, making sure they maintain her standards of behavior, morals and ethics, etc. So chill, people…
    Also, regarding divorce… her employer has had several (lol), I do think it’s only a problem for women.

    I would remind everyone that Carol did a fantastic job, and Muna was as forthcoming as a saudi citizen could be, given the fact that the authorities will know about this interview, and review it for “correctness”.

    Tell me, ya Carol, has any blogger on wordpress been blocked?

    Kudos to American “hadari” and her subject – we simply can’t call Carol bedu – she’s too educated lol.

  12. Thanks Carol for another wonderful interview.

    I feel compelled to comment based on some of the above.

    First of all in terms of her kids being relatively independant, is that really such a big deal? Like some of the others have pointed out they are much more independent than younger kids. Also so what if she does have hired help. Is it such a big deal? Does it make her own struggles any less real? Just because she had others there to help her in difficult times doesn’t make her less of a hero than other single moms. She’s raising the kids herself, even if it is with hired help their father isn’t right there to help and that makes a world of diffrence. I applaud her for all the work she has done.

    In general terms when it comes to drivers and such here I consider it a necessity. The driver is obvious and it shouldn’t be considered a big deal considering that we can’t drive here. Also the maids anyone who knows what Saudi families are like knows they are big, for someone to be able to run a large household with a constant stream of unexpected guests its completely necessary if someone wants keep from losing their mind. One reason that we are able to have maids out here and not in the states is also because it’s so much cheaper. And before anyone says anything about them not getting paid enough, sure its true but what they make is more than they could imagine making back home they also are the ones who say how much they are to get paid.


  13. Mariam–I enjoyed your comments.

    American Hadari/Bedu probably knows more but yes at least one wordpress blog was blocked in Saudi–it had previously been blocked on MSN (because it published the Danish Cartoons) and Blogger (general irreverence, satire, and mixing religion and politics?) and then on WordPress (specifically about its discussion of terrorism). It still features highly disrespectful cartoons of the Prophet, and vulgar sexual, political and religious satire.

    The article referenced below discusses blogs blocked in Saudi by OCSAB, which states that they are usually blocked because they are pornographic (95%), or for combining sexual discussion with the name of Allah.

  14. What’s “Hadari” ??

  15. Correction: OCSAB recommends KACST blocks. Other reasons for blocking are inappropriate discussions of religion, terrorism, and drugs.

  16. I enjoy reading all the comments.

    Yes, Mariam, as Saudi bloggers we do need to be circumspect as Sadui blogs have been known to be blocked, shut down or even have bloggers arrested or apprehended. And I thank you and Habeeba for the lovely term! (smile)

    I also agree with the comments that one should not focus on and make a big deal on one having domestic help in KSA. As pointed out, if you take into account the culture and size of families coupled with women’s inability to drive, it is indeed very much necessary. KSA is not USA so there should not be the comparison between the two cultures and countries.

    All being said, Muna was very candid and honest in her interview which I applaud her for that. Not too many Saudi women will be willing to come forward and address the topic of divorce as she has.

  17. Mariam, one of the reasons the majority of saudi bloggers are blogging under a pseudonim is because you have to be very careful about blogging, and blogs have been banned. Saudi Jeans has been banned a while, and he comes out with his real name, and still speaks his mind; he is really brave. Fouad Al Farhan was jailed for many months last year, for expressing very mildly his support for saudi reformers. And there is the very mysterious illness and death of Hadeel…..

    Bedu is careful and diplomatic, but she is also candid about her opinions, and you never know when somebody decides you are a nuisance…

    Whci brings me to this post. I am a bit miffed about all these negative comments on Muna Abu Sulayman. She is not answering this interview as an ”anonymous Saudi lady” But fully out in the open under her own name, and everybody knows where to find her! She has been outspoken enough on all your subjects AbuSinan, I agree with your wish for women from all social strata to have the same possibillities, but you know also that ”women at work” is still at the larval-stage in KSA, and women like Muna will create nourishing surroundings for this concept to blossom.
    Muna has answered and talked eloquently and diplomatically about many sensitive subjects in this interview.

    I am irritated by all these comments on mere details, some of which can’t be implemented so easily anyway. It’s like people want to detract from the qualities and goals she did achive!
    Sheesh! I don’t know about other people here, but I have been a nine-year old myself at some stage in the past, and I was pretty independent and perfectely capable of looking after myself at that stage!

  18. Aafke,

    Maybe I am not making my point the way I should be. I tend to be long winded.

    Let me make it shorter. Muna Abu Sulaymun, I believe, can get away with the things she doesnt because of her position, wealth and connections.

    She can do what she does and get away with it unmolested because of the wealth and connections she has.

    Were she a poor unconnected Saudi woman we would NOT be having this discussion about her because she’d not have the opportunities she does nor would she get away with the things she does. Full stop.

    The point here is that until I see these opportunities and situations passed down to those without wealth, connections and family ties I will believe it is not much more than what has always been.

    The fact is that Saudi women with wealth connections and power have ALWAYS been able to do almost anything they want.

    When someone can walk the streets of Riyadh and find successful women from all areas of life and have it be a common occurance then I will believe things are changing, until then it seems to me to be not much more than the historical fact of another rich person, male or female, making their own rules that only the rich and connected can follow.

    This isnt just Saudi, but in many places, and the facts are the same.

  19. Even though she “can get away with it”, if she uses it – leverages it – as it were to lift up the status and condition of those less fortunate than others, then what’s the big deal?

    It’s all how you work what you have, a lot or a little. Chess game extraordinaire times however many.

    It’s how the world works, we don’t live in a utopia.

    btw, No joke she loves her job – who wouldn’t! Are you kidding!?! Feel free to leverage some in my direction, I have no shame in asking.

    Now I have to get back to my little business so I don’t get fired.

    Signing off for now, singing Abba’s “Take a Chance on Me” ;P

  20. I agree with Aafke’s comments. Abu Sinan I think you are coming across to harsh and judgemental in regards to Muna and bringing down a candid interview.

    However playing devil’s advocate – every Saudi citizen has the right to education and it is free. Not only free but Saudi students will usually receive a monthly educational stipend. As long as women apply themselves and make the grade, they can gain admittance to Universities both within and outside of the Kingdom. Now of course this is also subject in the case of a woman to the approval from her mahrem. So the mechanism for opportunity through education is there. But when you look at the opportunities versus the present reality of life in the Kingdom, most average Saudi women are not thinking or as concerned of positions like Muna’s. This is not America where US rights and opportunities can be applied.

  21. Do women have access to EVERY university or educational program in KSA or just the ones deemed suitable for women?

    If they study abroad are they allowed to have any major they choose?

  22. American Bedu–I agree that US norms cannot be applied in Saudi, and I hope that my comment on the average North American was understood to be in reference to the perceptions of possible readers of this post, as I intended it to be, and not as a detraction or distraction from the excellent interview (both questions and answers) as I commented at first.

    Abu Sinan–I find you clear, although I disagree, except that it would be nice to expand opportunities. Where we disagree most is that I believe with others that the privileged who serve as role model or put their talents toward the advancement of others are a major factor in social change. As I mentioned above, women, like Muna, who do so make it obvious that it is not gender that impedes their successes but other factors, like social inequalities, narrow gender roles, attitudes, family impediments, etc.

    Saudi should be commended for the educational opportunities given to women as well as men, a true Islamic virtue (both the education, and in this particular aspect the gender equality of free education, stipends, and scholarships).

  23. Hi Lyn,

    Of course the scholarship for women only applies to Universities and disciplines which allow women but considering how much a University degree costs, this is a much better system than the US where going to University can be cost-prohibitive or in debt for many years paying off student loans.

    I know a number of Saudi students both male and female who may go abroad for study with one major in mind and then shortly thereafter when learning of all the various options do indeed change their majors.

    Chiara – my comments were not directed at you! I am in agreement ot you that at laest for now it is those who are more priviledged and serve as role models are also the ones influential in social changes.

  24. Thanks for the clarification! I was only concerned that that particular comment of mine was a long (but hopefully amusing) explication of the side issue of the average North American. We’re good! :-)

  25. In the US if you apply yourself and make the grades you can get your education paid for as well yet there is no school that you are not allowed to attend if you are a woman and there is no subject deemed inappropriate for you to study.

  26. Having this lengthy interview someone might think it’s with Elbert Einstein!!

    ..”I’m sure that many other Saudi women also inspire to obtain prestigious positions with “…”, What advice can you give to them?”

    It’s not that complex and you don’t have to sound sophisticated.. you really have to be slim and stylish.. overweight women are not welcomed in that particular organization, so as the old fashioned.. Even if they hold PHDs!!
    Now, the truth can offend some people but that’s all what it takes!!

    It’s funny how arab women, Saudis in particular, portray themselves sometimes. “if your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt”.. so why not find somthing tangible to work on, instead of babbling to the media!!Saudi women who claim to be modern and hard workers should first have a unity of purpose & work collectively or individually towards that purpose if the subject is about cultural change. This can be done quitely and when the proper time comes for the media to intervene then its role is about summing things up!!

    Excuse me but as if as everything eveloves around how Saudi females are perceived by the west.. and since talk is cheap, those who have been publishing statements left and right just to paint a rosey picture and show the world that they are misled by the media.. those don’t know that we Saudis are really bored of that!!.. Every now & then Muna drags to her biography.. what’s the big deal!!

  27. I wonder if Ms. Abu Sulayman were to just check out this page to see what the responses (and/or welcome) were to her having given this interview, what would you like her to read?

    “Dear Ms. Abu Sulayman, because you are in the unique position as Executive Director of the Kingdom Foundation, I’d like to draw attention to the need for …” and then proceed with viable and helpful presentation and methods towards resolution, a lucid checklist of things you believe (if you’re Saudi and have a vested interest in the Kingdom) could be most helpful.:)

  28. Carol,

    You might find me harsh, but I would think in the interest of having a balanced viewpoint that would be needed here as the vast majority of comments have been glowing without asking any real questions, let alone critical questions. If someone doesnt provide critical questions then what you get is an echo chamber.

    I understand the comments about the possibility of Muna being a role model or a ground breaker. What I am doing is pointing to the real possibility, as seen in many other places and many other times, that she is not a ground breaker.

    Only time will tell, but history has shown us often that such ladies do not break any ground rather they just do what the rich and privledged always do, they get away with what other women cannot. Decades later the rules for the rich and connected remain the same and nothing has changed for those who are poor.

    I think these questions, from a current and historical perspective, are entirely valid.


    Nice to see someone else asking some “harsh” questions and making some valid points.

    Would she be in the position she is in if she was overweight, didnt have the connections or the money she has?

    Having seen the types of women bin Talal choose to surround himself with and hire, I can bet you she would not. He picks only the young, good looking and connected women to surround himself with. Unless, of course, even the biographies he has worked with on himself are not true.

    Bin Talal even said, words from his own mouth, that he does not like fat people. He went on futher to explain that he chooses to surround himself with “young and vibrant” people. He said it himself, those who are not young, good looking and stylish need not apply.

    If this is part of the change the Muna is a part of………………that is fine, but it isnt anything new nor groundbreaking. It is the same old tired game of rich people surrounding themselves with the young and beautiful and passing it off as progress.

    Using those guidlines maybe Qadaafi and his troop of gorgeous female virgin bodyguards is a sign of progress?

    When you see a Saudi version of Candy Crowley heading up bin Talal’s operations, get back to me.

  29. Reverse discrimination anyone? Attractiveness and connections are helpful for all, men and women, so I’m not sure I understand the surprise/distress that exceptional women may be attractive and well connected, along with the ones who aren’t, or are one or the other.

    Wealthy connected not attractive Mary Elizabeth Garrett transformed medical education by funding Johns Hopkins Medical School with its transformative curriculum, and its chief William Osler, and by tying its funding to acceptance of women med students, creating the first coed med ed program. She also established Bryn Mawr.

    Attractive not wealthy Gloria Steinem transformed American feminism.

    Madehja Alajroush, with all respect, is not an obvious beauty contest winner yet is transformative (give the whole thing time).

    Hanan Ashrawi, connected, educated, definitely not attractive has impacted politics at home, education for women at home, and the perception of the Palestinian cause abroad.


    sorry for style must run library closing around me

  30. Chiara,

    Pointing to advances in the West when talking about Saudi, or even the wider Middle East, just doesnt cut it.

    Looks, in this case, certainly matter. Muna is a leading figure at bin Talal’s holdings, that is what gives her a lot of the clout for the other things she does. Talal is on record as saying some of the first things he considers when hiring is looks, style, and most particularly weight. He made it clear, on video, that he disdains people who are not fit and atttractive. Being one of the richest men in the world and Saudi, never mind being pointed at as one of the “progressives” in Saudi makes the whole thing a joke. Once again, appearance trumping substance.

    When you point out Ashrawi, you again do more to make my point. She is the exception, not the rule in the Middle East.

    One could fill volumes of leading women figures in the West who dont look good, Maggie Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, you name it.

    More importantly, if a “progressive” figure in the USA ever proclaimed that he’d not hire fat and ugly women they’d be laughed and pressured out of social life and his former “pin up” picks would certainly have lost a great deal of esteem.

    Ms. Abu Sulayman might or might not be a leading figure when it comes to women’s rights, but only time will tell that. People made the same lame claims about the former queen of Jordan. How did that work out? Anyone?

  31. It is after all Alwaleed bin Talal’s perogative who he does or does not hire….as you said yourself Abu Sinan, this is Saudi Arabia not America.

    I just think you are always too quick to criticize or find something to attack about Saudi Arabia. Now granted, I am aware you do have a chip on your shoulder but it does make it difficult at times to respond to your comments under those circumstances.

  32. Even in America the person hired is the prerogative of the hiring person

    Chiara ~ Despite the library closing around you, that was to me forthright post. Your “style” was straightforward, refreshing. :)

    Abu Sinan ~ You put it out there as you see it. Probably very honestly. And yes, bin Talal hired a Saudi version of Angelina Jolie and yes, she too repped at the UN … you’re even adding qualifiers for people you don’t think look good (Thatcher, Clinton, Pelosi)😉 I think they think they look good and the people who love them think they look good too. There are a lot of those same practices in use today in the USA … A lot. Over 40 need not apply.

    I get what you’re saying, AB, but there are countless scores of execs who follow the same practices. And if in this case Abu Sulayman whose leveraging this capital does so where it can help … then

    He doesn’t like fat people? So? — George HW Bush doesn’t like broccoli. 😉

  33. AbuSinan, I know very well what you mean, but I don’t agree with you. I think you are chronologically wrong. For many people (men) in KSA the notion of a woman working out of the home, of actually interacting with men, driving, etc. is out of the question. So the fact that some women do these things is an imortant milestone.
    You want a situation which can’t exist right now, for your wishes to come true there first has to be a foundation. This foundation is being laid down right now, by women like Muna.

    And what do you mean ”she gets away with it” There are after all other women, who also ”get away” with divorce, and who have employment or set up a business. But I understand it it very difficult. If women like Muna can show other women it can be done, and can also do so while being a good mother, and acting in an apropriate way, (she wears hijab on the television program while the others do not) That will take away some of the fears and worries of people who think women can’t behave appropriately when ”set loose”.
    So what if somebody who has support and position to make it possible?
    If otherwise it isn’t possible than what do you want? Nothing would happen ever! No women of lower social strata would ever get a chance, or would be inspired by seeing another woman leading her own life, making her own money, travelling and raising her own children!

    You are like Marx, you want some instant miracle to occur. A whole society to change 180” in the blink of an eye. It doesn’t work that way.
    Now Muna may or may not be influencing other women, (and being KSA nothing will happen if she doesn’t also impress the mahrams) but that is for time to tell. I personally do believe that the mere fact that women are holding jobs, while conducting themselves islamically correct, will stand a good chance in changing societies’ perception.

    And what is your (plural) obsession with this one speech by Alwaleed bin Talal? It was a documentary, who knows how many other bits have been cut out? Besides, discrimination on weight is rife in Europe and America, except nobody likes to call it by it’s name. Don’t tell me fat people have the same chances in ”the West” because it isn’t true.
    At least he is honest about it.

    When I saw the documentary I had the impression binTalal wanted slim people because he sees every woman as a representative of his company, and women working being such a big thing in KSA I suppose he has a point, every woman from his company will be scrutinised more than is the case in ”the West”. And not all his female employees are young and pretty. I take it the man is no fool and will have a good look at people’s capabilities before he hires them.

    I have a really unpleasant feeling about this turn the comments to this post have taken.
    We are being treated to a very honest and outspoken interview, of a remarkable woman, and then all this negative bilge comes out.
    At other interviews our American Hadari has placed people always seemed to be very aware of the generosity of those who share their thoughts, problems and views, and a fitting appreciation is voiced by us, the readers/recievers. Quite right too. As one of Bedu’s victims I know how difficult it is to write fitting answers, and that is is quite scary to have it all out on a very well known blog!

    And now? Because we know something about Muna’s background and some consider her to have some privileges, we don’t need to be appreciative anymore? I think none of Bedu’s former interviews have sparked so little appreciation. And it is very unfair.

    I think this a poor return for the generosity shown to us.

    I for one find Muna’s interview inspiring and I admire the diplomatic manner in which she has answered some pretty tough questions. I admire the way she manages to juggle home, education of her children and two jobs. And I am very impressed with her ability to recognise when she has taken on too much and her courage in deciding to take a step back.

  34. Giving an interview is not an easy thing. If for no other reason than the potential backlash you get for some of the responses you give or don’t give … you put yourself out there.

    But I think Ms. Abu Sulayman is strong enough to handle the backlash her responses may receive. It’s also a process to get out of the way the misconceptions, negative stereotypes, misnomers, misunderstandings about connections before the next step can proceed.

    In a way it’s kind of smart. Sometimes there’s nothing more pleasing than being perceived as arm-candy and then really doing something about it … later on you can take your finger and close the mouths of those who have them dropped in surprise that you actually have what it takes.

    It’s smart … open it up, get the criticisms out of the way, keep doing the work despite them.

    And yes, “If your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”

    (I like this line!)

    For God’s sake, let the woman do her job.

  35. Sorry Aafke,

    I dont buy the “poor return” thing. As to the interview, it was nice and meant to be nice. Certainly it was “honest” but I didnt find it “outspoken” as there was nothing groundbreaking, shocking, or what you wouldnt find in other interviews with her.

    It was not an interview where any hard or probing questions were asked. It had an agenda, it was meant to nicely follow the previous post about female role models in Saudi Arabia. As such it didnt give us any new information nor any information that wasnt already out there. It didnt raise any of the questions that I, and the one or two other critical posters, had mentioned in the previous post.

    I cant blame Carol, her intention was not to offer anything new, and besides, if you get to be known as an interviewer who asks hard and probing questions you find your pool of interviewees drastically shrinking.

    I wouldn’t mind doing an interview with her and asking some pretty hard questions but I doubt she’d be up for it.

    Anyways, I guess I have said everything I can about this subject. It would be interesting to revisit this subject 30 years from now and see where we are at.

    My guess is the “Munas” of Saudi will be doing the same thing and the poor, less connected Saudi women will be doing the same thing they are right now as well.

    “Trcikle down” women’s advance in Saudi will work as well as “trickle down economics” has worked in the West.

  36. AbuSinan, Fair enough, see you in 30 years and we’ll have a good discussion! 😉

  37. Abu Sinan and all

    The examples in my earlier comment were in part in response to Abu Sinan’s statements: “What I am doing is pointing to the real possibility, as seen in many other places and many other times, that she is not a ground breaker.”; and, “I think these questions, from a current and historical perspective, are entirely valid.”

    Of course these women are/were exceptional! The point of this post and the previous related post is that women who stand out in their field and come to the attention of other women via the media, historical record, or professional organizations serve as role models to others. Beautiful women who do so emphasize one can have accomplishments besides adornment; and, successful or groundbreaking women in traditional cultures show women are capable of more than uterine exploits.

    Muna has been open here and in the interview in the Saudi Gazette linked in the earlier post, about the personal and professional struggles along her career path, and how she built that path from one opportunity to the next (like most people do). Given that she has a Master’s degree in English from a Western university and was a junior faculty member at KSU I put her an intellectual cut above Angelina Jolie (admirable for her philanthropy).

    Various former Queens of Jordan, as well as the current “Queen Noor of Jordan” (a young beautiful dowager queen, although no longer reigning nor the “Queen Mum’) have been role models or groundbreakers. Queen Zein al-Sharaf Tala (mother to Hussein) was particularly groundbreaking in instituting and legislating women’s rights, and creating women’s organizations, as well as being the effective ruler on two occasions ( husband’s illness, son’s minority).
    The strikingly beautiful Queen Alia al Hussein modelled compassion, charity and the Islamic virtue of kafala (Islamic style adoption ie guardianship) by rescuing and adopting Abir.
    Queen Noor herself, uses her beauty, intelligence (part of first female class at Princeton, BA Architecture and Urban Planning, worked in same in Iran and Jordan prior to marriage), Americanness, and queenly connections to foster East-West understanding, promote women’s rights and economic development in Jordan, draw attention to the perspective and plight of Palestinians, etc.

    Transformation is most often slow, incremental and cumulative, since abrupt dramatic changes provoke backlashes and reversion to far worse. So I don’t expect Queen Noor, or Muna or any other woman to singlehandedly change any society.

    If one had the beauty/wasta to attain a goal to help oneself and others, a goal for which one was qualifed intellectually, academically, morally, and religiously would anyone refuse to use it? I would hope not.

    So in that spirit, Abu Sinan, I sincerely hope you and your wife find the wasta to make you happier (though probably not happy) with the Saudi government.:-)

  38. Correction: the linked Muna interview was in Arabian Women not the Saudi Gazette.

  39. Not many Saudi women are willing to step forward yet in their name and be interviewed. I would very much be interested in interviewing other Saudi women and have their views on many subjects shared.

  40. As if as we’re saying beauty is a sin!!

    There’s nothing wrong with being beautiful & taking advantage of that coz we’re not living in a LaLa land!!

    The point is.. there should be equal opportuinities for all.. and that is clearly not the case with the organization Muna works for!!

    She took that position fine.. the boss wants barbie dolls it’s his choice.. but when a fine looking lady with qualifications gets rejected just because she is couple of pounds above the ideal wheight!! Daaa!!

    The lady i’m talking about was “Not fat”.. I repeat that “Not fat” and not all that bad looking.. but “she was told”.. I repeat that “she was told” she has to drop those pounds before attempting to apply again!!

    So, let’s stick to the point and get Queen Rania and other political figures out of this.. We are talking business here and an interview with a so called business figure. By all means, does the above exemplify business or fashion business!!

    In the end, it’s not about blaming someone. It’s about bringing some truth into the the table.

  41. Mari
    Thank you for your comments. As far as my comment about Queens of Jordan (not Rania) goes, it was a reply to Abu Sinan’s comment/query on January 31st, 2009 at 7:40 am, in part addressed to me: “People made the same lame claims about the former queen of Jordan. How did that work out? Anyone?”

    For better or for worse, employers in the private sector have the right to hire and fire whom they please, and do not have to explain to anyone, provided they meet the legal requirements (if any) for severance pay.

    A friend, not originally connected, well groomed but plain and definitely overweight, in corporate executive placement (including international) taught me that; and, that people are also not hired, fired, not advanced for irrational reasons most of the time (although qualifications and performance do count). According to her, you must look the part of whatever corporation you are applying to, including for women whether nylon stockings are required or not, suits or not, heels or not, hemlength, hijabs, etc.; and fit the needs/image for light, dark, asian, younger, older, fatter, thinner, whatever. Not nice but very realistic.

    She would argue that your friend should feel pleased that she was given this feedback and advice along with the option of applying again. Harsh, from my perspective, but then as she likes to remind me “I’ve been doing this for over 20 years”. I for one hope your friend takes her PhD elsewhere and succeeds beyond the wildest dreams of the hiring team that rejected her.

    Although my husband is highly qualified, after meeting his bosses and “the team” I was sure that one of the positions he was hired for was partly because he was a similar height to all the other “not tall for North Americans” men–no height threats/male ego challenges there.

    After I started medical school, I changed my wardrobe, haircut, and height (lower heels), and after I was told that the nursing staff didn’t like me wearing coloured panty hose I changed that too (trust me you could fail out for things like that). I once worked on a ward where all the nurses were named Joanne and all the male psychiatric assistants were named John–coincidence or subconscious hiring practice by the Arab Canadian female nursing coordinator? Very confusing to say the least.

    Muna describes her duties as HR and administration,
    and aspires to entrepreneurship–sounds like business to me, whether she starts a fashion business or not. If it’s not, her Hijab business will go under rapidly.

    The original “La La Land” is Los Angeles where the non-beautiful need not apply.

    Once again, I really hope your friend succeeds in her career endeavours.

  42. Carol,

    So far what we have seen is the Saudi perspective from wealth, privledge and connection. Maybe it is time you looked for something different so as to be representive of what is out there.

    From what I have seen people coming from this perspective probably would not be willing to be interviewed because they’d be worried about the slant and content of the questions.

    I know it is common for everyone to put out the viewpoint of the life they lead, but we cannot pretend it is representitive of everyone’s experience.

    If one comes from a position of privilege, wealth and connections it is normal to slant all of the viewpoints in this direction, but lets not think this is the majority view out there.


    As to finding wasta and help with the Saudi government? As my mother in law says “Astanini fe zugag al seani” (meet me in China town!!!) LOL. She’s from Mecca, so I think this kind of means “yeah, whatever” in her slang.

  43. Too bad–maybe there is wasta in China town:-)

  44. AB said: “Trcikle down” women’s advance in Saudi will work as well as “trickle down economics” has worked in the West.

    Response: Yeppers, and we all know how well that trickle down thingy works round chyere … aka “the west”

  45. If someone doesnt provide critical questions then what you get is an echo chamber—rofl

  46. I am disappointed how instead of appreciating the fact that a Saudi woman was willing to speak out about her life and experiences, many instead are putting her down and critizing either who she works for or the circumstances of her life.

    Anyone could have made a diplomatic request that they would also like to see interviews by those who are in different walks of life rather than cutting down an individual who they probably don’t even know in the first place. Shame on you!

    The comments received from this post do not bode well for the ability to have other Saudi women agree to future interviews.

  47. go away for a few days and look:)

    Since I was the first one to mention the comments about parenting. I still do think it strange that one would say what she said as a parent. I’m a parent of 5 two of which just turned ten two days ago. And I would never sum them up at 9 as being “able to take care of themselves” and state that my parenting role is “less about direction and more about follow up” But I think this just represents and overall understanding of parenting in Saudi not a personal attack on her as an individual.

    That said.. I have a nanny and a maid and a driver (well part time driver) and my life is very much about my kids. Having ‘helpers’ doesn’t negate your role as a parent nor your parenting skills (nor your activity level during the day). So as one who can see both sides I don’t take issue with her ‘luxury’ status.

    And I’ll add that having a maid, a nanny and driver ain’t all its cracked up to be. I think Carol can relate how at times it is more of a problem then a help just as well as I can:)

    Personally for me, that this woman may have connections isn’t an issue. She is a public woman who is in the spotlight as a working woman. Just having that image in Saudi is important. The everyday women will have to work much harder for change in the workforce and their as well as their rights and roles. But it doesn’t negate the fact this is a public female figure who is working, minlging w/ the opposite sex and donng all the things so many have a problem with, which is a needed thing in Saudi wasta or not. This image is necessary for other women who don’t have the connections to get out there and do it. And it is a bit more easier with such images of women wasta or not.

    Carol- I must say that just because an indvidual is a Saudi woman doesn’t negate them from being criticized when they put themselves out there. You know this from having a blog.. people are going to not agree with things you say, things you do, or the life you lead. My goodness I’ve been called several names on my own blog. Goes wiith putting yourself out there. Saudi women need to get used to this as the put themselves out there more publicly. Even if it is just by going out of their house to work.. neighbors may whisper, friends my criticize, even family members will do it. Comes with the terrirtory.. so either we suck it up or stay home secluded. I don’t think Saudi women are really all that fragile:)

  48. “I personally am not veiled, neither do I believe in the veil as an Islamic cover.”

    I may get a load of flack for this, but one of the things that really roasts my rooster is that coming to the Middle East one would find that Islam and Islamic cover would be more prevalent; but the fact of the matter is that in order to be successful in business you must do away with it.

    Are there any successful business role models who actually cover? And forgive me (I think I’ll really get flack for this one) but REALLY cover- I mean no hair showing, no simply draped over the head, but pinned so that no hair can be seen?

    You certainly can’t find them in Egypt, and I have yet to see them anywhere else.

    I’ve come a lot of miles only to be confronted by the same glass ceiling.

  49. Thank you very much for the wonderful interview.. I applaud the both of you for bringing this interview to the us here! Keep up the great work!

  50. Very good interview. I actually liked that she was open to showing herself as human. While she may not be a “typical” single working mother she does show that Saudi woman, while restricted in certain areas, are still the same as others around the world.

    I do think the critics are, while not the most diplomatic, are acceptable and have some salient points. Being a public figure and granting an interview opens a person up to such scrutiny. Ms Sulayman should be aware of that since she works in such high profile jobs.

    There is another Saudi woman I’d love to see you interview. I saw her on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservation show that he did in Saudi Arabia. I am not sure what her name is but I know she is the first to have a female owned film company and lives in Jeddah. I’ll see if I can track down more info for you. She seems to be more middle class working woman and may appease those who want a better view of Saudi working woman.

  51. Onigiri – if you can obtain contact data I’d be happy to see if she’d be willing to be interviewed…she does sound like she would be very interesting indeed.

  52. Danya Alhamrani

    Eggdancer Productions

  53. Just noticed also on the post where I said “AB” — meant “AS”

    It’s been a hell of a week.

  54. Susan: great link! Clever ladies, they did an excellent job!

  55. I agree with Nzingha that Saudi women are not weak. If you think negative comments will keep other Saudi women from doing interviews then I would have to point out that you actually have a rather low opinion of Saudi women themselves.

    I dont happen to share this opinion of Saudi women. I think they can give as good as they can take. I think, if given the chance, they can hold their own in any forum and dont need protection from anyone in the West. This sort of neo-colonial-mindset, that the third world woman needs to be saved by their Western women counterparts is not helpful.

  56. I wonder if the people that are judging the parenting style/approach in this interview would be willing to open up their life, family and style/approach to unknowns as well? I doubt it

    The fact of the matter is we all parent different, we all raise different childre that’s what makes the world go round!

    As a single parent and successful career woman I can empathise with Muna’s situation. Help or not, unfortunatley kids of single parent houses do have to become more self sufficient earlier. It’s the only way to get us both out the door in time for school/work in time!

    I quite liked the interview and found myself more relating to Muna.

    Success is different things to different people.

    I feel successful when I manage to not have dishes on the sink when it’s time for bed!

  57. In the comment regarding to parenting, Muna’s words have been interpreted in multiple ways. One can only guess on how she intended the statement to be taken. However I can say she is not an irresponsible individual.

    Glad you enjoyed Aussiegirl

  58. Aussiegirl- I as a parent am out there for the world to see. I post it on my blog and have been criticized as well.

    However as I sit in the saudi culture I think this (her statements) represents a difference of parenting in two different cultures. I’ve seen the vast difference in parenting in America vs here and it is a world apart in so many ways. Some things in Saudi are good and America should learn from, and vice versa.

  59. Nzingha – sounds like a comparison of parenting and techniques would be an interesting blog post!

  60. Bedu- It is on my list of things to do but having 5 kids and all I’m a busy gal. Imagine that even with my maid and nanny I’m still a hands on mama:)

  61. Fortunately for all there is more than one style of good parenting.

  62. I read the interview with great interest along with the resulting comments.

    I don’t think AS is really critical – he is just trying to point out that wealth does have its privileges, but has done so from a “man’s point of view” and in a very direct and no-nonsense manner. This is in no way a harsh criticism of Muna.

    Her comments regarding parenting, I think, have to be taken into context. Did we really expect her to expound on her day to day duties as a parent of two girls (from a single parent environment), and leave herself open to further criticism. I feel that whatever she says, she would be ripped to shreds. One also has to remember that whatever she says in the interview will also be read by her ex, who could cause problems for her, because as she indicated, she has not been legally granted custody of the girls via the Courts, and wishes to keep the situation with him amicable. If she said anything that implied she was a better parent in any way (words a very powerful and can destroy or build, depending on their interpretation) she would possibly incur his anger. This lady has tried not to make the interview long-winded, tried to keep it concise, but because she hasn’t been able to eleborate on her answers, has left herself open to criticism. There were a few questions the answers to which were cleverly avoided, again, no doubt, either due to censorship or a need not to aggravate.

    BTW, is it true in Saudi Arabia that if a man and woman get divorced, the father automatically gets custody of the children? If that is so, then that would explain quite a few things.

  63. welcome and thanks for your comments, Phoenix.

    And yes, the laws of Saudi Arabia favor the father in the event of a divorce. The mother may have custody of children until they reach certain ages (which differ for boys and girls) but the ages are still young after which the father automatically has the right to full sole custody.

    In the case of a foreign wife, if there is a divorce and she does not hold Saudi nationality chances are she must leave the Kingdom since she no longer has a sponsor (ie, her husband) and in most cases any children from the marriage stay with the husband in Saudi Arabia.

  64. Just having that image in Saudi is important. The everyday women will have to work much harder for change in the workforce and their as well as their rights and roles. But it doesn’t negate the fact this is a public female figure who is working, minlging w/ the opposite sex and donng all the things so many have a problem with, which is a needed thing in Saudi wasta or not. This image is necessary for other women who don’t have the connections to get out there and do it.
    RHT Seamed Stockings

  65. I think you make very good points Vintage Seamed.

    Thanks for your comment.


  66. Dear Muna;
    Will you marry me?

  67. hi
    1-great interview …muna abusulayman is one of the most influential and powerful woman n the Middle East..many look at her as a role model….

    1-she meant by “My girls are 15 and 9. So they are now old enough to take care of themselves and each other”
    that they can dress themselves, can pack their own school bag, tell time, etc…not like a 2 years old or 5 years old who needs their mom do everything all the time.

    2- about the Vail she ment covering the Face …coz n islam we have to cover the hair but some ppl cover the face as well…

    3- i wish her all the best she is a GREAT GREAT woman.

  68. @Hlaa – Welcome and thank you for your comment. She is indeed a great woman and excellent role model.

  69. Yes She is Gr8………………………… My dream woman

  70. Where are you? can you send me one mail?

  71. she is powerfull women, i will say “allah Yahdiik “

  72. […] Muna AbuSulayman is one of the most talented and beautiful (inside and out) Saudi women.  It is with pleasure for American Bedu to pass along Muna’s message about the launch of her Spring Collection of exclusive fashions.  This is an event women in the Kingdom will not want to miss!  Muna’s exclusive designs will appeal to both Saudi and expatriate women. […]

  73. Looking over the interview -which I loved BTW(Muna seems a really cool and interesting person)- and some of the replies was a bit enlightening. I think it’s awesome that she is managing to keep up with a career fashion, caring for her family, and a public non-profit role in the community. Sounds like a lot for anyone to handle!

    It seems there are many different ways one can choose to live life. My parents paid for my dance lessons when we were considered a low-income family, I took care of myself and an infant during the day at the age of 14 (though my parents were still my parents and they did set limits and boundaries), and know of many women from wealthier (upper-middle class onwards) families in the US (whether or not they work) that also employ nannies. I don’t think it’s a good idea to make assumptions about others. Just thought I’d throw this out there, even though it’s an older topic posting.

  74. I’m glad you read Muna’s interview and shared your thoughts.

  75. she my hero

  76. Muna Abusulayman shes my hero and she is the only queen of beautiful in the world mashallah tabarak allah so happy to be her fan

  77. muna she my hero

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