The Canadian Politician (Toronto) – In a move that surprised many observers, Saudi Arabia has appointed its first female ambassador and she is headed to Washington. Princess Reema Bint Bandar whose father was the Kingdom’s ambassador to the United States for 22 years, was a business executive who has lived in the United States for more than two decades. During the tenure of her father, she attended George Washington University and graduated in 1999. Her appointment marks a sharp departure from the deeply conservative posture of the kingdom regarding the role of women in society.
With this appointment, the newly appointed Crown Prince, Muhammad Bin Salman is signaling to the world that a new era has dawn on the Kingdom with the relaxation of some of the most stringent rules on women. Only last year June, an age-old ban on women driving was lifted and many other reforms aimed at situating the kingdom as progressive and tolerant has been instituted. However, critics believe that much of these reforms are superficial as the kingdom continue to imprison women activists. The new ambassador replaces the brother of the Crown Prince who it was alleged told Jamal Khashoggi, the murdered Washington Post contributor, to go to Istanbul to obtain documents that would enable him get married. He has denied the claim.