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How is Saudi Arabian Society Changing?

9 March 2018 - 08:30 to 09:30

Chatham House, London


HRH Princess Reema Bint Bandar al Saud, President, Saudi Federation for Community Sports; Vice-President for Development and Planning, Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority
Lujain Al Obaid, Chief Executive Officer, Tasamy
Adel Hamaizia, Researcher, University of Oxford; Vice-Chairman, Oxford Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Studies Forum (OxGAPS)
Chair: Jane Kinninmont, Deputy Head, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House



Over the last few years, Saudi Arabia has seen a number of landmark social changes driven through by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. These have included, among other things, the high profile lifting of the prohibition on women driving, scheduling a number of major concerts which permit mixed sex audiences, and the re-opening of public cinemas. Many of these steps are aimed at social change and most notably giving greater mobility – in all senses - to women, which will not only provide a critical boon to the labour force but also help attract much needed international investment.

As part of the visit to London of Mohammad bin Salman, Chatham House will host a panel featuring two members of the royal delegation. The panel will consider what real, on the ground changes are underway in the kingdom. What are the day-to-day differences in the lived experiences of women in major Saudi cities? And, if cultural change related to the role of women in Saudi society is linked to economic necessity rather than the prevalence of more-liberal norms, what might that mean for any wider change in human rights and freedoms across the country?

This event will be live streamed.