Saudi Arabia’s Princess Reema gave an impassioned speech at the World Economic Forum.

Change is in the air throughout Saudi Arabia, and if you ask the kingdom’s Princess Reema Bandar Al-Saud, the rest of the world needs to take note.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday, the royal (who became the first woman to lead a federation for sport in Saudi last year) gave a talk about the progress of gender equality in her country.

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Full of insight and genuine feeling, the princess’s speech is a must-read for anyone who’s interested in the experience of Saudi women.

 

Her main point? The drive for change is coming from within the kingdom itself.

princess reema

“It’s necessary for our nation from an economic point of view, and also from the holistic nature of how you want a family to actually function as a family if you’re constantly segregating family members. It just doesn’t work that way,” Princess Reema said, according to Arab News.

“We’re not doing gender equality because the West wants it, or because it will target Human Rights Watch and get them off our backs, or because Amnesty International is going to say ‘great, good job you.’ We’re doing it because it is right,” she said.

That change is ongoing and won’t necessarily happen overnight, the royal said, but it was frustrating to be met with cynicism from international media.

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However, Princess Reema was more concerned with women inside Saudi Arabia. There, she said, there are thousands who have been working for equality for years.

“Perhaps you just have not heard our voices before. Today the introduction of the woman may seem like an anomaly or novelty across the world, and in Saudi Arabia, but we’ve been there,” the royal said, Arab News reports.

“Where we have been is the silent partner, but today we’re being given the opportunity and platform to be more present and more relevant.”

With the changes that are currently afoot, we’re thinking we’ll be hearing from them more and more.

The moves come as part of Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious post-oil economic plan which aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.

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Images: Getty