Saudi Arabia is known as one of those conservative nations that still have many restrictions on women. However, the country is slowly progressing towards providing better opportunities to women and a recent example is its space mission that also includes a female astronaut.
Saudi Arabia has introduced reforms to provide women in the country with more liberty and rights for the past few years. It was made legal for women to drive and travel abroad without a male guardian. Their proportion in the workforce also increased significantly since 2017. These reforms are also redefining the image of the country in the world. The latest attempt in that direction is Saudi Arabia’s space mission AX-2 which also includes female astronaut, Rayyanah Barnawi.
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First Saudi Arabian Woman In Space
33-year-old Saudi Arabian astronaut Rayyanah Barnawi is a research laboratory specialist who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences (ReGD) from New Zealand’s Otago University. She is a Master’s in Biomedical Sciences from Alfaisal University and also has 9 years of experience in cancer stem cell research. Barnawi will accompany another Saudi Arabian astronaut Ali Al-Qarni on a mission to travel to the International Space Station that will be launched in the second quarter of 2023.
The space flight launch is supposed to take place in the USA and the mission will also include Mariam Fardous and Ali Al-Ghamdi who will be trained on all mission requirements as backup astronauts. The purpose of the space mission is to facilitate the country’s scientific research which will not only prove beneficial for the developing country’s space industry but will also help in the overall development.
The mission is a part of the Vision 2030 agenda by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman which focuses on building an ambitious nation, a thriving economy and a vibrant society. Under the agenda, Saudi Arabia launched two space programmes in 2018 and 2019 with the intention of sending astronauts into space. The inclusion of a female astronaut in the space mission will open more opportunities for women in the country that have been kept away from unconventional job roles for a long time.