Gratitude for Firsts

I recently had my first opportunity to play in a Pro-Am Golf tournament with the European Women’s Tour in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, hosted by the Royal Greens Golf Course. It was the first-ever all women’s golf tournament hosted in Saudi Arabia! 

I was in awe of the golfers’ athletic ability, power, and endurance that these women demonstrated throughout 6, 18 hole rounds. I usually start fading after 12 holes and am very happy to call it a day, but to watch them persevere through the physical and mental pressure of the event (this is their livelihood after all) inspired me. Being able to witness such excellent golf, up close, has inspired me to practice more on my game and strive to play a full 18 hole rounds more often.

Living in Saudi Arabia for the past nine years has given me a front-row seat to the changes in the Kingdom when it comes to women’s rights, and thankfully that trend has been toward the positive. During my time in the Kingdom,  I have seen women granted the right to vote, work outside the home, own a business, and drive. 

There have been some amazing firsts for Saudi women in all professions; Sarah Al-Suhaimi - the first female to be appointed to chair the Kingdom’s stock exchange,  Dalma Malhas - the first Saudi female Olympic medalist, Raha Moharrak - the first Saudi female to climb Mt Everest, Maram Kokandi - the first female GM for the hospitality sector, Taleedah Tamer - the first Saudi Supermodel, Nouf Sufyani known as Cosmicat - the first female DJ, and Rayouf Alhumdi - the first and youngest Saudi to inspire a cultural emoji, the hijabi.

Another big first for women happened this month when the Golf Saudi Federation has started a campaign to help young female golfers get into the sport by offering free golf memberships and lessons to 1000  ‘future’ women golfers

While Saudi Arabia has been somewhat closed to international travelers and first impressions hard to come by, change is slowly starting to happen as the country sets its sites on the Crown Prince’s 2030 Vision. It is exciting to live here during this time and to see so many firsts for females in Saudi Arabia. I cannot wait to see who rises to the top in each field as the days pass on. I am confident that the women of Saudi Arabia will keep pushing forward and striving for many more firsts in the years to come, maybe even a first female… in a high government position, just as the US has elected its first woman and first of color to Vice President.