Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- National Dutch television will be producing a documentary program about Arab women and in particular, Saudi women. The production entitled "Excellent Women" consists of two 50-minute episodes. It focuses on professionally successful women of the Arab world. The first part tackles the life of four Moroccan women and highlights the rapid transformations and new rights recently granted to women in Morocco under the ambitious leadership of King Mohammed the sixth. The second part of the documentary follows women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It includes shots of prominent Saudi women who occupy senior posts in the kingdom, and explains the extent to which these women contribute to national economy. It also examines how far the latest reforms have helped to create new opportunities for the economic participation of women. Many women now play an important role in superior positions in Saudi Arabia.
Talking to Asharq Al-Awsat, the director of the movie, Bridget Hack, says that its aim is to break the negative stereotypical image of Arab women in general and Saudi women in particular, as compliant and ignorant. It seeks to substitute this image with positive examples of modern women. Another purpose is to correct the negative idea of veiled women by filming a number of female figures in Saudi society, accompanying them in their work and recording their daily lives in different locations and situations. This depends on their activities at work and in their private lives such as their day at work, their life at home, their journeys to school to pick up their children and their family shopping trips. The film also includes the opinions of Saudi girls and women of themselves and their fellow women of the country.
One of the most remarkable figures appearing in the documentary is Prince Al-Walid ibn Talal, the owner of the Kingdom Holding Company. Also featuring is Loubna Olayan, top executive manager of Olayan Financing Company. The movie also interviews the pilot, Captain Hanadi Hindi, the investor Hessa Al-Aoun, and Dr Salwa Al-Hazzaa, consultant optician at a specialized hospital amongst others.
The documentary was filmed over fifteen days in the Kingdom and received much assistance from the Saudi Ministry of Information. The movie is shot in Riyadh and Jeddah and depends largely on scenes in which women themselves discuss their professional lives and their lives in Saudi Arabia in general.
Co-producer and researcher Jacqueline Doghair is an experienced journalist who has worked for some of the world”s most important newspapers such as the Guardian and the Sunday Times. She has visited Saudi Arabia more than six times and has many connections there.
Also participating is Dr. Tomador Hassoun, head of the organization for the cultural forum of Arab and Dutch women. She has lived in Saudi Arabia and has a lot of background on studies and conferences concerning Arab and Saudi women in particular. She has participated in many activities, most importantly in organizing the first international conference in Holland in 2002 about Saudi women, introducing them and presenting their progress. The conference was followed by a visit to a museum and art exhibition presenting the works of Saudi female artists such as traditional items, fashion and jewelry. Added to the record is another global conference on women in Arab and Muslim countries between law and application.
The Saudi Ministry of Information offered huge assistance to the media delegation in their task of making the documentary successful. The two episodes will be broadcasted on national Dutch Television on October 30 and November 6 2005. Thereafter, they will be available for international sale.