Which Saudi Women are the Best Role Models and Representatives of Saudi Arabia

When one follows the various press articles about Saudi women, certain names will tend to appear more frequently than others. This led me to wondering which women are the best role models and representatives of Saudi Arabia? What does one look for or expect in a role model for a country such as Saudi Arabia which usually is portrayed as a conservative closed Kingdom where the women remain behind veils and closed doors? Therefore for a Saudi women to be considered a successful role model, does that mean she must be conservative? Must she cover? If a Saudi woman chooses to be more outspoken, open and perhaps not cover her head, does that make her a bad role model for the Kingdom? What criteria should a role model of Saudi women have?

In my personal opinion I believe a role model of women in Saudi Arabia should be able to easily cross the divide between East and West towards fostering understanding and know how to present messages that are acceptable and understandable to both sides. This may come as a surprise, but I also believe that a woman who does choose to wear the hijjab (at least) presents a better image of Saudi Arabia than a woman who chooses to go completely uncovered. Why, you ask? Because in order to be a role model for Saudi Arabia one must have also obtained the respect, support and endorsement of those within the Kingdom first before seeking the same from outside. Since the majority of women in Saudi Arabia fully cover their faces, in my view a reasonable compromise would be a role model who wears a hijjab since we know facial expressions can also add much to communications.

A role model for Saudi women should also demonstrate her love, respect and loyalty to her family. She also is an independent woman in that she has demonstrated she can make her own decisions and choices. She is educated and knows the history of her religion, her country and its people. She feels comfortable in being able to address any query that may be posed to her about Saudi women and their traditions and cultures.

As I started this post, I remarked that when doing searches on prominent Saudi women (and not those within the Royal family) certain names appear more than others. I’m including them below with links which provide additional information about them and their backgrounds.

wajeha-al-huwaider Wajeha al-Huwaider is a Saudi female activist from the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. She is not afraid to speak out on issues she believes deserve global attention and need change. She made international news last year during the anniversary of when the Saudi women took to the streets during the first Gulf War by making a video of herself driving in an isolated area as she speaks promoting womens rights and driving in Saudi Arabia.

muna-abu-sulyman Muna Abu Suliyman is the Executive Director of the Kingdom Foundation. In addition to this prestigious position she also is a media personality, UN Goodwill Ambassador and Young Global Leader. She has a full schedule as well as being an active single parent.

Madehja Alajroush is a multi-faceted and talented Saudi female. She is a proponent for womens rights, businesswoman, professional photographer and psychotherapist. She also gained notoriety as being one of the women who dared to drive on the streets of Riyadh in 1991.

raja-al-sanie Rajaa al-Sanie gained instant global recognition with the publication of her first novel “The Girls of Riyadh” where she breaks the taboo of silence and writes how girls and guys meet up in the conservative Kingdom. Although this book and its characters are a work of fiction it is in fact based on facts of how members of the opposite sex can meet up and engage in relationships. Rajaa is usually viewed either as a hero for speaking out and writing on the controversial subject of dating and relationships or she is veiwed with disdain as promoting anti-Islamic practices.

heba-fatami Heba Fatani is the Corporate Communications Director of Kingdom Holdings. This is a position of high responsibility and challenge which requires one to be articulate, poised and able to work under pressure.

I would like to see this post as a work in progress where the names I have cited only touch the tip of the iceberg of women who serve as role models for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. I wish to see your own nominations and why. As well as discusses the pros, cons and merits of the women who I have cited in this post.


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