Belgium is the first country in the world to appoint a female ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Iran too is getting a new Belgian woman ambassador soon.
In western eyes the situation of women is seen as problematic in both countries. In Saudi women require a male guardian. Often their father or their husband fulfils this role. At present women are not allowed to drive or attend sports competitions, but this is set to change next year.
The Belgian foreign ministry says that the dispatch of a woman ambassador is a clear signal. Dominique Mineur will take up her post in the summer of 2018. At present she serves as ambassador in the UAE. Iran too is getting a Belgian woman ambassador soon. In this country women are obliged to wear a headscarf and sit at the back on public transport. – vr