How is Saudi Arabian Society Changing?

As part of the visit to London of Mohammad bin Salman, Chatham House hosts a panel featuring two members of the royal delegation.

Members event, Panel Recording
9 March 2018 — 8:30AM TO 9:30AM
Chatham House, London

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.

The panel considers 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?

  • 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?


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

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