Daughter of a prominent businessman, Deena is not your typical spoiled upper class Saudi woman. She finished her global law MA degree in the UK in 2006.
Currently she is the CEO of her father’s company which mainly deals with the production of caviar.
What really stands out about Deena is her outspokenness and courage. Recently she was nominated for the board of directors at the Eastern Region Chamber of Commerce and as a candidate she did her best to get her viewpoint out through media and by speaking to as many Eastern Region businessmen as she could. I was especially impressed by the fact that she brushes aside any hint that they should vote or view her as solely a woman candidate. She really believes in what she has to offer and is passionate about it as a businessperson.
Voting in the chambers of commerce, as is everything else here, is completely gender segregated. Women are not only assigned separate areas but also separate days. This Saturday Deena al Faris did something no one has ever done. She went into the men’s area on the day when men were supposed to vote. There she was, surrounded by hundreds of Saudi men. Her intentions were to meet voters and answer questions but she was met as though she was carrying a bomb. Security threatened to call the police and have her physically removed. However the minister himself, H. E. Abdullah Zainal Riza intervened by issuing the fastest new ruling in the history of the ministry that women candidates are allowed into the men’s section during voting. This all happened within a couple of hours. One gutsy Saudi woman’s actions equaled change for all Saudi women.