19:26 GMT +306 December 2019
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    An interview with President of the company Seeds, Dr. Nahed Taher, in Jeddah

    It's a Man's World: Saudi Arabia's First Female Banker Shares Secrets of Success

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    With the support of recent Saudi governments, women in Saudi Arabia are taking steps toward equality but there is more work to be done, the country's first female banker Nahed Taher told Sputnik.

    Nahed Taher is a trailblazer for women in Saudi Arabia. She became the first woman to work for the Saudi Arabian National Commercial Bank, where she was Senior Economist. In 2006, she became CEO of the Bahrain-based Gulf One investment bank, making her the first woman to head a bank in the Gulf region.

    Women in Saudi Arabia have been granted more rights in recent years, such as the right to vote in 2015 and last month the right to drive a car. Offering women more opportunities is vital, particularly in the fields of IT and business, Taher told Sputnik.

    "The most important things in business are work and creativity. I take the same view of women: first of all, they need to be active, creative personalities, not just 'ladies.' New opportunities need to be open to women, not only in the humanities but, for example, in the technical and IT fields."

    Taher is co-founder of Gulf One, whose financial products are focused on large energy and infrastructure investments across the Middle East and India. She said that the bank strives for equality and hires the right person, regardless of whether they are a man or a woman.

    "When our bank opened, a lot of people expected us to only hire women, but that didn't happen. Our priority has always been equality – for women and for men. The job should go to the person with the best qualifications, and gender here doesn't matter."

    A system of male guardianship exists in Saudi Arabia, according to which women need the permission of a male relative to carry out many everyday activities or take life decisions, from renting an apartment to traveling abroad and getting married. Despite this, Taher said that recent governments have taken important steps to improve the lives of women in the country.

    "Since the reign of the previous monarch, King Abdullah, women in Saudi Arabia no longer conform to accepted stereotypes. The Kingdom is taking significant steps toward supporting women."

    "I feel proud of our young girls and guys who want to develop new areas of business. I admire their desire to work and start their own business. They are strong-willed, which enables them to overcome all obstacles, be they restrictions on the basis of sex or something else."


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