Saudi women participate in Hajj transport syndicate for first time
The syndicate arranges transport for pilgrims attending Hajj – the annual Islamic pilgrimage –and has allowed women to participate for the first time since its founding nine decades ago, according to Arab News.
This year the pilgrimage begins on 7 July and ends on 12 July, with the holy city of Makkah receiving its first foreign pilgrims since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I am proud and honored to be a woman from Makkah who works in the syndicate that… actively contributes to the success of Hajj and the safe transport of pilgrims” “ Khadija Fifa, a journalist and content creator at the syndicate said, according to Arab News.
Other women employees said they were pleased to work at the syndicate as Muslims who “love God”.
“It is an honourable and wonderful mission to contribute to the service of pilgrims when those services were limited to men. In this prosperous era, I have the opportunity to play an… active part as a woman from Makkah who loves God.” Mervat Habhab, a customer service specialist at the Syndicate said.
“I am grateful that women now have more professional opportunities to participate and serve during Hajj. I hope to be rewarded (by God) and thank our government.” Binan Basnan, another customer service specialist at the syndicate, said.
There has been a significant change in the status of Saudi women across the kingdom in recent years as part of the kingdom's ambitious Vision 2030 plan to open itself up to the world and transform its economy.
Saudi authorities have allowed women to drive, travel abroad without permission from their guardians, and to join the country’s national border force and register a childbirth, marriage or divorce.
However, rights groups stress that Saudi women's activists are still silenced, with discourse and mobilisation around women's rights being heavily regulated and many women rights activists being detained and tortured in the country.