But mothers are glad to see their children gaining more opportunities.

Between its first fashion week, the return of public cinemas, the end of the ban on women driving, and moves to get more women into work, it’s clear that Saudi Arabia is changing.

However, there is a generation gap in terms of how those reforms are being received, the Kingdom’s Princess Reema bint Bandar says.

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While younger Saudis tended to be eager for change, the generation up wasn’t always so enthusiastic.

 

“We held some forums with students in the US and they told us that they want to work and do things but their parents say no,” Princess Reema told Arab News.

“I have to admit we dropped the ball on that aspect. So then we had to sit and work out how to persuade and reassure the parent generation.”

That wasn’t a universal reaction, Princess Reema told the site. Many Saudi women were pleased to see their children have opportunities they didn’t have themselves, the princess said.

“Mothers say that even though they did not have the same chances, they are very glad that their children will,” she told Arab News.

“They may worry about them, but that’s a universal worry shared by any parent.”

saudi woman motorbike

Reforms in the Kingdom meant that some parents were happier sending their children overseas to study, Princess Reema said.

“Parents worry about their children going abroad to study and staying there because life was easier. But nowadays they are coming back home because there are opportunities for them,” she told Arab News.

Recently, the kingdom has seen many changes under Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s post-oil economic plan which aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.

Last September, a royal decree revealed women will be able to secure driving licences from June 2018, with the news widely celebrated around the globe.

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As part of the initiative, the government also aims to increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent by 2020.

Jobs such as soldiers, immigration staff, criminal investigators and firefighters have also been opened up to women in recent months.

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