Minggu, 03 Juni 2012

Princess Ameera: Breaking The Inherent Habits in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi Arabian sweetheart, Princess Ameera Al-Taweel of Saudi Arabia was born in 1983 (qtd. online). She is the kind of woman that every girl wishes to be. She doesn’t only have the looks but also a good heart and briliant brain. Unlike any other princess in Saudi Arabia, Princess Amira is the only princess who goes on public and also she dares to build constructive critics about women’s roles in Saudi Arabia through the global media. As the wife of Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, Princess Ameerah travels on behalf of the Alwaleed bin Talal Foundations in an aim to promote Saudi Arabian’s potency and to criticize what needs to be changed in Saudi Arabia. As the representative of developed Saudi Arabian women, she has plans for the future of Saudi Arabia particularly on women’s roles in such restricted society and culture. She believes that it is something that is made by the close minded members of society that interpret religion values in a wrong way. This paper aims to explore more of her experiences in encouraging Saudi Arabian women to stand up for themselves.
Princess Ameerah has made her way in supporting equal rights for women in global media. Supported by a lot of people in her life, including her husband as one of the most supportive person in her struggle, Princess Ameerah believes that there is a huge chance for the close minded habits to blow over. By close minded, she means that the habits that restrict Saudi Arabian Women from doing even as simple as driving a car outside. Unlike any other women and princesses of Saudi Arabia, Princess Ameerah drives her car wherever she goes even sometimes she drives for her husband. She supposses that if she can do so, then other women can do as well. She and her husband travel around the world on behalf of the foundation to promote Saudi Arabian in a lot of ways. One of them is making a group of successful Saudia Arabian women go on public and make them known as role models for other women in Saudi Arabia. She meets many important people including President Barack Obama and his wife to discuss about major issues of women in Saudi Arabia. She also happened to meet a lot of women from different country and shared the same issue of being a woman. She thinks that in order to break the habits she needs a lot more supports not only from women themselves but also media because she realizes media has a huge power in society.
In addition, it’s not only her husband who supports her yet also her family. She is a very well educated woman and she even speaks english very fluently. Without any support from the people she loves, she would not even make the way she is now. She is also supported by a lot of women in Saudi Arabia. Hearing that there is now a progress of emantipation and empowerment done by women, Princess Ameerah is very glad that she is now waiting for more women to do so. Both of the royal couple, Princess Ameerah and Prince Alwaleed bin Tawal believe that women need to have the same exact rights likewise men.
In order to drive change and break the boundaries in her country, Princess Ameera has done several projects on promoting the potency of Saudi Arabian women. Their job as NGO is to help facilitate those changes and build civil society. 70% of bank account now owned by women, a lot of women are succesful in education, bussiness, and the health care sectors and the foundation would like to see more of women to achieve these in other sectors for instance the legal sector. One of the things that they do is  supporting a program to basically help employee 600 women who are graduated from law faculty to become lawyers. The foundation also makes this workshop whereby these 600 women gather together with another organization and learn about to channel their voices. They also have a program of women leaders whereby all the succesful women are portrayed in media so society will be aware of them and women are encouraged to look up to them.
Saudi Arabia is very conservative when it comes to religion values. Women are required to wear veils. Yet, critics sent by Princess Ameera who does not wear veil in public herself, is very logical whereby she states that wearing veil is a matter of choice and there is no way for people to judge women just because she doesn’t choose to wear veil. The only one who is capable of judging an individual is God and He will judge you based on your choices. She doesn’t really have problem in wearing veil. She is raised with it but to her it is a matter of making your own decision. To Princess Ameera, she doesn’t live to please anyone else. She is who she is and people cannot judge her for being herself.
Her supportive husband, Al-Waleed bin Tawal, is one of the richest man in Saudi Arabia. He is the Chairman of Kingdom Holding Company, and also the Chairman of the Alwaleed bin Talal Foundations (qtd. online). As one of the richest man, and also a prince, Prince Al-Waleed bin Tawal becomes very influential in his country whereby  higher member of social status is highly appreciated. He is one of the best support for Princess Ameera. Unlike any other husbands or princes, Prince Al-waleed allows her wife to drive car, doesn’t restrict his wife from doing what she wants and in fact it gives a huge amount of impacts to Princess Ameera, she is one of the most educational woman, and also considered as hero of a lot of women who are frustrated to make a change in Saudi Arabia.
In journey travelling all over the world, she has met a lot of women who shared the same issues of being a woman and yet they all want to drive a change. She has met the wives of Saudi Arabia ambassadors and also wives from ambasasdors from all countries and they sat together and gathered to share the same challanges. She personally thinks that this journey will always run and there is no end point and yet again it needs big support from women. On behalf of the foundation, she shares the global cultural views.
This strong dream of Princess Ameera seems to be very unbreakable that no one will ever stop her from struggling for women in Saudi Arabia. Her dreams are not without reasons. She is raised in a strict culture whereby religion and culture comes together as one or even religion is considered at the only culture that should be followed. Her findings of false right given by women made her ask and criticize the right that is given for women. Her background of education enlight her critics leads her to the point where she believes there are a lot of things which need to be changed in Saudi Arabia. The aims brought by Princess Ameera is very bright that it should be followed by almost every woman in the world not only Saudi Arabia. A lot of women in the world are suffering because their rights are declined. Princess Ameera, has opened the way for every women to open their eyes and see that there are a lot of chances to show their true selfs and be on their own
Ditya Eka Jeulita’s Opinion on the struggle brought by Princess Ameera:
            To me, Princess Ameera is one of the biggest stepping stone for a lot of women in Saudi Arabia to see the light that has been shutted down for a long time in their culture. I personally think there is no right and wrong in culture yet when it comes to declining the right of one individual, the matter of culture can be very offensive furthermore if it happens to be related to religion. By looking at the struggle contributed by Princess Ameera, society should be alaramed of how bad the position of women are right now. Eventhough Saudi Arabian women seem to be the only ones who experience this challenge but as a matter of fact almost every women still experience the same issues of women’s roles. Women’s roles in society and public sector has become a long debate since the very first wave of feminism in 80’s. Women were restricted in public sectors and required to merely fit in the private sectors such as households, and child bearing. Now that a lot of women are employed in public sectors, inequality still remains. There are still women who are abused to death, women are allowed to have a job in public sectors yet still required to fill in private sectors at the same time, women are being sexualized in media and rather viewed as objects of sexuality. All of these issues are challanges for women not only Saudi Arabian Women.
To me Princess Ameera is a hero for all women in the world. It is not about how she is a princess and how she has links and channels but it is about how she can make advantages of the links and channels and contribute it for the sake of women in Saudi Arabia. Many conservative and close minded people might think she is the generation of rebellion but that is just for the conservative. They might as well have to take a look at the fact that human right has been declined and it is such a shame because even religion teaches us to treat others as equal and in His eyes we are never different. As stated by Princess Ameera, the struggle has no end point and the goal is to achieve equality. The progress of the struggle shows a good chance that in the future the civil society will develop and hopefully women will be able to have their rights evenly.