The Women of Saudi Arabia
On December 12, the women of Saudi Arabia pulled off two amazing accomplishments.
They exercised their right to vote for the first time in the country’s history—despite Saudi’s Grand Mufti, the most senior religious official, declaring that female involvement in politics was “opening the door to evil.”
Princess Reema Al-Saud said, “It’s a very proud moment to be a Saudi woman because today we voted and we stood together for something that’s positive for all of us with the support of our whole community. This is a big moment for all of us.”
Then over 13,000 women walked through the doors to partake in an eight-hour event featuring food, carnival games, spinning, and Zumba classes, and on-site screenings and surveys for mental health, breast cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
At around 6:15 p.m., Al-Saud and her team started the ribbon formation process. An hour and a half later, with thousands of women in formation, the speakers in the arena blew out and the giant video screen froze, delaying the Guinness judging by 25 minutes. Ultimately, the judges counted 8,246 women in their uniform pink head scarves—beating the previous record set in India by nearly 1,400 heads. (The event’s 1,900 female volunteers, plus the all-female food vendors, artisans, education specialists from the various ministries, and first aid and cleaning staff were not eligible to be counted.)
In addition to gathering a record number of women together to raise awareness, the event generated 1.5 million riyals (about the equivalent of $400,000) for the Zahra Breast Cancer Association.