Saudi Arabia is preparing to launch its first woman astronaut into space on May 9th. The news marks yet another milestone for gender equality in the conservative Middle Eastern country, where women have historically faced restrictive gender policies. In 2018, the Saudi government lifted the infamous ban on women driving and allowed them to attend sporting events in stadiums for the first time as part of its Vision 2030 agenda to diversify its economy and bring social and economic reform. The upcoming space mission is part of a larger initiative aimed at inspiring youth and promoting science and technology. The astronaut, named Nora al-Matrooshi, was selected from a pool of more than 1,000 applicants and will join a team of other astronauts from the United Arab Emirates, Russia, and the United States on the mission. This historic milestone signals a new era of inclusion and empowerment for Saudi Arabian women, particularly in STEM fields.
Today: December 2, 2023