RIYADH – First Lady Melania Trump and the US president’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump have praised Saudi Arabia for its “encouraging” progress with regards to women’s rights.

Accompanying her father on his presidential trip to the Middle East, Ivanka met with a group of Saudi female leaders in Riyadh Sunday to discuss how women might gain further freedoms in the patriarchal state.

“In every country, including the United States, women and girls face challenges,” Ivanka Trump told the group during a round-table discussion led by Deputy President of the Women’s Sports Authority Princess Reema bint Bander.

“Saudi Arabia’s progress, especially in recent years, is very encouraging. But there’s still a lot of work to be done and freedoms and opportunities to continue to fight for.”

“Around the world women continue to achieve unprecedented levels of rights and freedoms. Today you all stand on the front lines of the fight for gender equality,” she added.

Also on Sunday, Melania Trump hailed Saudi Arabia’s “empowerment of women” while speaking at a General Electric all-female service center.