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Saudi appoints first female assistants for the 2 Holy Mosques

Saudis and foreign residents circumambulate the Kaaba (Tawaf), as part of the Umrah pilgrimage, in the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Makkah, on October 4, 2020 [Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umra/AFP via Getty Images]
Saudis and foreign residents circumambulate the Kaaba (Tawaf), as part of the Umrah pilgrimage, in the Grand Mosque complex in the holy city of Makkah, on October 4, 2020 [Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umra/AFP via Getty Images]

Saudi Arabia has appointed two female assistants for the management of the Two Holy Mosques in a historic first for the kingdom.

Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al-Sudais, the imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah and head of the General Presidency of the Affairs of the Two Holy Mosques, appointed Dr Fatima Al-Rushood and Dr Al-Anoud Al-Aboud as his assistants.

According to the Saudi Gazette, the appointments issued on Thursday include 20 women who hold masters and doctoral degrees, in key leadership positions at the presidency.

Dr Fatima was made assistant president for women's affairs and advisor to the president, while Dr Al-Anoud was appointed as assistant president for women's development affairs.

Al-Sudais also issued an order for the establishment of an assistant agency for women's empowerment as part of ongoing efforts to empower women in line with the kingdom's Vision2030, established by de facto leader and Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

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"Women who are working at the Two Holy Mosques have proven their competence in various fields," Al-Sudais explained.

"The presidency aims to continue working to achieve the maximum benefit from the distinguished female cadres, and to harness their efforts in serving Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors in accordance with the Kingdom's Vision 2030," he added.

Last month the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah allowed women to perform Hajj without a mahram (closely-related male guardian) in an unprecedented move, provided that they were among a group of other women. Female guards were also appointed for the first time at the Grand Mosque in Makkah. While in June, unmarried, divorced or widowed Saudi women were permitted to live alone without the consent of a mahram.

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