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Hala Al Tuwaijiri has a doctorate in English literature. Image Credit: Okaz

Cairo: Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz has issued a decree appointing Hala Al Tuwaijiri as the chairwoman of the kingdom’s Human Rights Commission with a minister rank in a boost of women’s empowerment, Saudi media reported.

She has replaced Awwad bin Saleh Al Awwad, who has been relieved of the post and appointed as an advisor at the royal court.

Al Tuwaijiri is the first woman to hold this post in Saudi Arabia, news portal Ajel reported, saying her appointment marks a “qualitative step” in giving women high positions in the kingdom.

Born in 1974, she obtained a bachelor’s, MA and PhD degrees in English literature from the King Saud University where she worked as a lecturer.

Al Tuwaijiri has also held several positions including the secretary-general of the Saudi Family Affairs Council and head of the Saudi Women’s Affairs Council.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has taken major strides for women’s empowerment and boosting their engagement in public life.

In 2018, the kingdom allowed women to drive for the first time in its history, ending a decades-old ban on female driving, a step that came to the dislike of conservatives.

In another move enhancing women’s empowerment, Saudi authorities allowed women to travel without a male guard’s approval and to apply for a passport, easing long-time controls on them.