First Saudi woman appointed to a top OIC post

Photo: First Saudi woman appointed to a top OIC post / Arab World

Maha Akeel, a Saudi journalist who was the managing editor of OIC journal, has been appointed the Director of Information and Public Relations at the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Al Arabiya reported.

The appointment of a woman as a Director of a department is a shot-in-the-arm for women empowerment.

Speaking to Saudi Gazette she said that her new duties are to keep the public informed about OIC and its activities, to promote objective and strategies of the organization and to shed light on different initiatives of OIC.

She described the new position as "challenging" and a "big step" for women in the Islamic states and Saudi women in particular. "I have big responsibilities, however, with the support of the secretary-general and the help of my colleagues I will be able to do my duty."

The challenge, she said, are less intense as she has been familiar with the work in the OIC having worked in the media department for seven years. "Women have been working in the OIC since 2006 when I first joined. We are now about 7 in number, and the secretary-general is looking forward to employ more women."

The newly appointed OIC secretary-general is Iyad Madani, who is the former Saudi minister of information.

Maha denied that her new position has been given to her based on her nationality. She added, "I had to fight for this!"

Maha, during the OIC celebration of International Women's Day recently, had remarked: "Unfortunately, there is a general misconception about the status of women in Islam and her rights and duties, not only by non-Muslims but also by Muslims themselves.

"And the media plays a critical role in propagating these ideas and stereotypical images of Muslim women abroad, and some of the misunderstandings of Islam, policies and inherited traditions in our societies confirm these images, whereas Islam has preserved the rights of women and raised her status."

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