Meet the man who first called for educating women in Saudi Arabia

Abd al-Karim al-Juhayman

Doctor Laila al-Juhayman, daughter of late Saudi author Abd al-Karim al-Juhayman spoke to Al-Arabiya about her father’s legacy and stance on educating girls.

The late author, born in 1910, supported educating girls in the Saudi kingdom and he once got arrested for publishing a piece that called for educating women in the daily Sawt al-Zahran, Laila said.

According to Laila, her father, who passed away in December 2011, got in trouble for publishing the article because the authorities thought it was too soon.

She said that her father was ambitious as he sought education as a young man in Riyadh and then in Makkah, adding that it’s from him that she learnt patience and love for knowledge.

“I became fond of teaching and I became a teacher because it’s one of the best fields to help build the country and educate the future generations,” she said.

On how he educated and raised his children, Laila said that he never imposed his opinions on her or her siblings but always respected their choices in life, adding that he’s always resorted to dialogue and discussions.

Laila, who began to read for her father after he turned 90 years old, said that her late father was fond of books and reading, adding that he used to say: “People who find the joy of life without books surprise me.”

This story first appeared in Arabic on

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:52 - GMT 06:52