Saudi Arabia to Promote Women Empowerment in the Labor Market

Shashank GuptaJan 14, 2014 | edited Jan 14, 2014 - by @ShashankGupta2

Saudi Arabia is known as the powerhouse of the Middle Eastern economy. The country has a population of around 24-25 million, out of which, one-third of the population constitutes of the foreign workers living in Saudi Arabia. In terms of natural resources, Saudi Arabia is a wealthy country.

However, the country has been fighting with two very crucial issues, which are unemployment among women and corruption. Currently, 140,000 candidates graduate from all over Saudi Arabia every year that enter the job market and are employed in government bureaucracies. The Saudi Arabian king is looking forward to expand the government bureaucracy to employ the ever-increasing number of young Saudi job seekers.

The unemployment rate in the country is as high as 10-20%. This issue is mainly prevalent among the female population, where around 78% of Saudi women nationals are graduates from recognized universities and are still unemployed.

Working Women

The female working population in Saudi Arabia mainly comprises of expats or the spouses of male expats working in Saudi Arabia. The Ministry of Labor of Saudi Arabia has been trying hard to reduce unemployment of women in the country. The percentage of working Saudi women is as low as 15% currently. However, if you are spouse of an expat working in the counWomen Empowerment in Middle Easttry, you will have to arrange a work visa for yourself in case you seek employment in Saudi Arabia.

The females do not have an easy life working in Saudi Arabia because of the endless restrictions. However, being a foreign national, you can look for temporary work in various fields like healthcare, teaching or real estate. You would need to have the official permission of your husband or guardian to take up the jobs in Saudi Arabia.

Let's discuss a couple of successful women in Saudi Arabia who have changed the perspective of world towards Saudi women.

Lubna Olayan is one of the most successful businesswomen in Saudi Arabia who works as the CEO, Olayan Financing, which deals in operations spanning distribution, manufacturing, services and investments, across the Middle East. She is the successor of the highly recognized company, which was established by her father in 1947 and has paved ways for more and more women working in the corporate world of Saudi Arabia.

Another highly successful woman is Dr. Samia Al-Amoudi, who is an Associate Professor at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah and a Consultant Obstetrician Gynecologist. She studied from the same university where she is working now and takes credit to write thirteen books dealing with various medical problems prevailing in Saudi nationals, particularly women.

The increased awareness of educated women in Saudi Arabia towards using social media as their strength is highly commendable. It's not that each and every woman has access to Internet, but the rate at which Internet has penetrated among the Saudi women is remarkable. These women are increasingly becoming aware of their rights and are learning the ways through which they can gain more exposure to the world outside their home. They have very well used Internet to conduct job search for their better future.

The current trends

A number of young Saudi women nationals who have been studying in various foreign institutes and universities on state-funded scholarships, have come back to their native place with innovative ideas to promote the women empowerment in the country. This forward approach is expected to be very beneficial for those women who have yet not considered entering the labor market. The future is better for Saudi women and they have more and more options to study and ask for more rights in a legal and wise way.

Currently, the employers suggest that they prefer hiring of females over males, as they are concerned about the growth of women in the labor industry. A number of companies have started to add separate break rooms and working areas for females. To accomplish this, they also have started installing partitions and close circuit cameras with an aim to prevent unwelcome mingling.

Initiatives to be taken to promote women employment in Saudi Arabia

To make it easy for the women to work in the country, the government needs to develop a working environment, which is supportive for women and the one that helps the women to overcome the existing social barriers hampering their success. Besides, there is also need for revamping the educational scenario, and introducing the vocational courses and training systems so that they can meet the demands of the labor industry.

The government also needs to emphasize on subjects like science, Math, foreign languages, computers, information technology and healthcare, so that the major influence of harmful gender stereotypes can be reduced. Proper guidance and learning systems can help them to promote them to take up new jobs in Saudi Arabia or to become entrepreneurs. The Saudi female workers need to have proper access towards their professional and personal development in those areas that matter the most in a knowledge-based economy.

Rashmi Karan is a professional content writer. She pens her thoughts on a variety of topics related to career and employment. Mostly she shares her views on the employment in Gulf countries and job search trends.

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