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Saudi Arabia has more women's rights than the West, says Saudi princess

Princess Lamia said Saudi women are paid the same as men [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 November, 2019

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Gender pay gap? Saudi women can't relate, says Princess Lamia al-Saud.
The West can learn a lot from Saudi Arabia when it comes to gender equality as Saudi women enjoy more rights than their Western counterparts, a princess from the kingdom has claimed.

Speaking at the World Tolerance Summit in Dubai on Wednesday, Princess Lamia bint Majid criticised portrayals of Saudi women in the western media, saying that they do not accurately reflect their situation.

"The West always thinks that women in my country are vulnerable and not being given their rights," Princess Lamia told The National at the Dubai event.

"I remember being in a meeting in the UK recently where they were discussing the problem of unequal pay between men and women and I couldn't help but smile to myself.

"Men and women have equal pay in Saudi. If someone is earning even one riyal less than someone doing the same job they can sue.

"That's not the case in the West, despite the fact they've been talking about it for years."

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The princess, who is currently head of the Alwaleed Philanthropies charitable organisation, added that feelings of superiority need to be challenged.

"Everyone feels superior to each other," she said. "In Europe they felt superior in political arenas while we felt we were superior from a financial perspective.

"Everyone has been very stubborn to accept they can gain by learning from others and working together."

Read also: Saudi Arabia can't decide whether 'feminism is extremism' but will jail women's rights activists anyway

The issue of women's rights in Saudi Arabia has been in the spotlight since a number of legal reforms were enacted by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of a bid to modernise the kingdom's image.

While introducing reforms like allowing women to drive and relaxing male guardianship laws, Saudi authorities have also cracked down on women's rights activists.

Among those detained in a crackdown last year is Loujain al-Hathloul, who is currently on trial alongside ten other female activists.

Hathloul's family allege the campaigner has faced torture and sexual harassment while in prison.

The arrests of Hathloul and other prominent campaigners for Saudi women's right to drive came just weeks before a longtime ban on the practice was officially lifted.

Saudi authorities have offered to release Hathloul in exchange for her video testimony denying that she had been tortured and sexually harassed in prison, her family claimed earlier this year.

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