The news has been rightly celebrated across the world: after years of requests primarily from the women’s associations, by a royal decree Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia has abolished the prohibition that banned women from driving. This was a step which for the daily life of Saudi Arabian women, who are at last free to move about without depending on a male guardian, cannot be ignored. Yet if all the organs of the international press have reported this news, another equally important victory has been glossed over almost in silence: Fatimeh Baeshen has been appointed spokesperson of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in the United States. Such a thing had never previously happened. “Proud to serve the Saudi Embassy of the USA as its spokeswoman. I’m grateful for the opportunity, the support and well wishes”, she wrote on Twitter. The areas of specialization of Baeshen – who worked for the Saudi Ministry for the Economy and Planning in Riyadh from 2014 to 2017 – are the labour market, the development of the private sector and the reinforcement of the role of women in the economy. That a woman should represent abroad both the men and the women of Saudi Arabia was certainly not to be taken for granted.
St. Peter’s Square
Feb. 20, 2019
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