Saudi minister replaces spokesman with 'more qualified' female employee

Saudi minister replaces spokesman with 'more qualified' female employee
2 min read
22 June, 2022
The appointment makes Shahad Manshi, who was promoted for being more qualified than her male supervisor, the first female spokesperson for the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs
Saudi Arabia has been keen to present itself as progressive and open to reform under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [Getty]

Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Islamic Affairs has ordered that a young female employee of the ministry replace her spokesman manager, after deciding that her educational background was more appropriate.

The appointment makes Shahad Manshi the first female spokesperson for Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, according to Saudi online news site Sabq.

In a video shared widely on social media, Manshi is seen speaking to religious affairs minister Abdul Latif Al Sheikh at an office in Mecca.

Al Sheikh decided on the reshuffle after learning that Manshi holds a BA in media, while her manager specialises in accountancy.

Manshi's former manager will now be transferred to an office under the same ministry in Jeddah.

The move was praised by some as advancing women's rights, while others criticised it as brash.

Under Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, widely considered to be Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, the Gulf kingdom has been keen to present itself as progressive and open to reform, particularly with regards to laws dictating social norms and women's freedoms.

Rights groups have viewed Riyadh's liberal reforms with caution, highlighting that dissent against Prince Mohammed is still not tolerated.

Though the kingdom scrapped a long-time ban on women driving in 2018, it continues to imprison women's rights activists