Groundbreaking

Diplomat becomes 1st woman in world history to be appointed ambassador to Saudi Arabia

Diplomat Dominique Mineur is escorted by a member of the Close Protection Team during hostile environment awareness and safety training courses for conflict zones, at the military camp of Brasschaat near Antwerp May 15, 2014. (REUTERS/Francois Lenoir)

This year has seen many firsts for Saudi Arabia, which has a notoriously terrible record when it comes to women’s rights. Women were allowed into sports stadiums for the first time and the country’s infamous ban prohibiting women from driving was finally lifted, though the change won’t officially take place until next year. Still, Saudi Arabia lags behind the rest of the world in gender equality.

But one country is making a statement by naming a woman as its ambassador to the kingdom. Government officials in Belgium have appointed Dominique Mineur to be the country’s next ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Currently, Mineur is stationed in the United Arab Emirates, but she reportedly will move to the embassy in Riyadh next summer. The move is decidedly pointed as well. According to The Independent, which cited sources inside the Belgian government, Mineur’s appointment is meant to send “clear signal” to Saudi Arabia that the kingdom needs to get its act together on women’s rights. Saudi Arabia ranked 138 in the 2017 World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report.

Meanwhile, Belgium is also appointing a woman, Véronique Petit, as its ambassador to Iran, another country that’s well behind the rest of the world when it comes to gender equality.

Read the full story at The Independent.

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