In a first, Saudi Arabia appoints women to head stock exchange, newspaper

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Riyadh | February 18, 2017 6:05 PM

For the first time, Saudi Arabia appointed two women to head the Kingdom's stock exchange and a newspaper in a step that shows the leadership's aim to empower women.

Sarah Al-Suhaimi will head the Saudi stock exchange. (Reuters)Sarah Al-Suhaimi will head the Saudi stock exchange. (Reuters)

For the first time, Saudi Arabia appointed two women to head the Kingdom’s stock exchange and a newspaper in a step that shows the leadership’s aim to empower women gradually in a highly conservative society where women’s movements and public presence are controlled by tough laws. Sarah Al-Suhaimi, who will head the Saudi stock exchange, had also become the first female CEO of National Commercial Bank (NCB) when she took over the top post almost three years back. She will replace Khalid Al Rabiah, the media report said.

Sarah is one of only a few women in the country with a top job in Saudi finance. Her appointment was in line with economic and social reform programme Vision 2030, which focussed on developing women’s role in the economy. The vision also aimed to raise their participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent in few years.

Sarah is an alumni from Harvard University. Her father Jammaz was head of the country’s Capital Market Authority from 2004 to 2006. In another major step, the English-language Saudi Gazette announced on its website that journalist Somayya Jabarti will head the the newspaper. She will be first woman ever to hold the editor-in-chief’s post of a Saudi daily newspaper.

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Khaled Almaeena, her predecessor, called Jabarti as a “determined and a dedicated journalist” and said that “it was not a question of gender but of merit that decided and earned her this opportunity”, reported the National newspaper.

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