Saudi Women in the Mohammed bin Salman Era: Examining the Paradigm Shift

Author First name, Last name, Institution

Magdalena Karolak, Zayed UniversityFollow

Document Type

Book Chapter

Source of Publication

The Palgrave Handbook of Gender, Media and Communication in the Middle East and North Africa

Publication Date



The aim of this chapter is to assess the dynamics of gender representation in Saudi Arabia in the aftermath of the sweeping reforms carried out under the watch of Mohammed bin Salman, the de facto ruler of Saudi Arabia. His rule marks a sharp turn in the modern history of the kingdom with a reversal from conservative readings and application of conservative social norms to an era of transformation and economic reforms that require female full participation. Consequently, women’s contributions are now expected and praised, unlike in the past when gender segregation prevented women from achieving their full potential and their empowerment was considered unnecessary in a rentier economic climate. To boost the female presence in the public sphere, women were appointed to governmental posts and allowed to participate in the limited political processes taking place in the kingdom. The aim of this chapter is to assess how the Saudi media communicate these new messages about women’s changing roles in society. Through a discourse analysis of selected Saudi newspapers, the author uncovers the frames that promote female participation in society. Ultimately, through the analysis of such constructs in the media, the chapter assesses the extent to which they mark a new dawn for Saudi women.


978-3-031-11979-8, 978-3-031-11980-4


Springer International Publishing

First Page


Last Page



Communication | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Saudi Arabia, gender representation, sweeping reforms, Mohammed bin Salman, women's empowerment, female participation

Indexed in Scopus


Open Access