During a five-hour interview with five Bloomberg journalists and the editor-in-chief John Micklethwait, Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman revealed all about his plans for the nation, including a spectacular insight into the future for women…
Interviewing Saudi’s Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in his palace compound in Riyadh, Bloomberg managed to get the royal to open up to outline his vision for the future of Saudi Arabia. As well as discussing energy markets and US-Saudi relations he also spoke up about the rights of women.
Now, why is that so relevant? The rights for women in Saudi, or rather the lack there of, is infamous. While women in the country were recently given the right to vote, they still can’t drive and are still segregated from men. It was only this February that we reported how women were banned from a branch of Starbucks in Saudi.
Aware of the rising concern surrounding women’s rights in Saudi, Bloomberg broached the subject, asking: “You’ve been championing the private sector. You’re a champion of privatisation, but one of your most underused resources in the economy is women. You know what an issue it is with foreigners coming here, they look at the gleaming new King Abdullah Financial District and they still ask questions about why women can’t drive in Saudi Arabia. Is this something you want to push for or tackle?”
Prince Mohammed’s retort was refreshingly eloquent, highlighting that while women in the region may not have the same privileges as women in the West, changes are being made.
He said: “I just want to remind the world that American women had to wait long to get their right to vote. So we need time. We have taken many steps. In King Salman’s time, women were able to vote for the first time and 20 women won in these elections. Women can now work in any sector. In business and commerce, as a lawyer, in the political field and in all sectors. Women can carry out any jobs they want. What is left is that we support women for the future and I don’t think there are obstacles we can’t overcome.”
Offering us hope for the improvement of women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, Prince Mohammed added: “We look at citizens in general and women are half of this society and we want it to be a productive half.”
Read the full interview transcript with Bloomberg here