KSA female employment rate among lowest in MENA region

Updated 25 March 2013
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KSA female employment rate among lowest in MENA region

Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest female participation rates in the work force in the region, a recent World Bank report has found.
“The employment of women stands at less than 12 percent. This puts Saudi Arabia at the 11th position in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA),” Al-Riyadh daily reported, quoting a World Bank report on gender equality and development in the region.
While female participation in the work force grew to above 50 percent in the Africa, Asia and Pacific region, Europe, Central Asia, Latin America and Caribbean over the past 15 years, participation in the MENA region has lagged behind at 25.2 percent, the report said.
The United Arab Emirates and Kuwait topped the list with at least a 45 percent increase in women’s employment.
The report also noted that some governments in the Gulf pay allowance to men, which discourages women from seeking employment.
According to statistical reports, only 14.6 percent of women work in the public and private sectors in the Kingdom. When expatriates are also included in the calculation, the percentage of working Saudi women further drops to 6.1 percent, the daily reported.
The Labor Ministry strives to bridge the gap between genders with a mandatory ban on men or non-Saudi women working in lingerie and other stores where women’s garments and perfumes are sold.
The ministry has also appointed women inspectors to monitor commercial centers and markets and has ensured that only Saudi women work in such establishments. The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs has ordered the issue of licenses to small establishments such as those of "productive families" in which women can engage in various trades while working from home.
One of the impediments that slow down women’s employment in the Kingdom is social apathy. The traditional view in Muslim societies is that a man should work while a woman should remain a stay-at-home mother.
However, the Ministry of Labor recently signed an agreement with the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which also seeks to increase job opportunities for women.
Abdel Aziz Aluwaisheq, a Saudi thinker, wrote in a recent column that the chances of Saudi women finding work have slightly improved, but that improvement has been quite limited and that employment rates are still extremely low. “In 2012, there were 647,000 Saudi working women compared to 505,000 in 2009," the writer said.


Media spotlight falls on Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites

Updated 17 December 2018
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Media spotlight falls on Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites

  • Journalists were taken on a cultural and heritage tour of key locations aimed at showcasing the Najd region of the Kingdom as a top visitor destination
  • The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) organized the trip, concentrated around the old towns of Shaqra and Ushaiger

RIYADH: Some of Saudi Arabia’s most historic sites on Sunday went under the media spotlight as part of a drive to boost tourism.
Journalists were taken on a cultural and heritage tour of key locations aimed at showcasing the Najd region of the Kingdom as a top visitor destination.
The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) organized the trip, concentrated around the old towns of Shaqra and Ushaiger, to coincide with the Colors of Saudi Arabia forum that aims to strengthen national tourism.
Places visited by the group of journalists and writers included Al-Halawa Museum Market, Al-Subaie House, the Husseini Mosque, the House of Mashreq and the heritage village of Ishiqar. They also went to a desert camp, watched cultural shows and ate locally produced cuisine.
Abdulrahman Al-Manee, whose Al-Halawa Museum Market shop was visited by the group, told Arab News: “Collecting antiques and cultural pieces has been my hobby for more than 50 years.”
He graduated from the fine arts school at King Saud University, and has a website where he sells his products throughout the Kingdom and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
The SCTH presented a workshop for media professionals during the tour. Majid Al-Hasna, director of media relations at the SCTH, said it is keen to organize more trips for journalists to the Kingdom’s archaeological, historical, heritage and tourism sites.