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Shoura female members call for equal pay for Saudi women in private sector

A Shoura Council session in progress. (File photo)
JEDDAH: Two female Shoura Council members have called on the Ministry of Labor and Social Development to use its supervisory role in the Kingdom’s private sector to close the pay gap between men and women.
The Shoura Council is looking into the recommendation made by Dr. Mody AlKhalaf and Dr. Latifah Ashaalan.
AlKhalaf told Arab News: “We are hoping the committee will include the recommendation in their next report to the Ministry of Labor.”
“It’s our right,” she said. “The law says employees doing equal work should get equal pay. The wage gap based on gender in the private sector has tripled in the last few years, and according to the World Economic Forum Saudi women make 56 percent of what their male peers are making.”
The recommendation compares women’s wages in the Arab World, as well as internationally. Compared to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, Saudi ranks last in wage parity. Internationally, the Kingdom ranks at 107 out of 140 countries listed.
“Something needs to be done about it, otherwise that gap will keep growing: 21 percent of citizen account’s registered users are women who are supporting their households, and they deserve equal pay — especially since that is the case in government jobs. The private sector needs to conform to labor laws.”
“Unlike most countries Saudi has a law that protects women’s equal pay rights. In governmental jobs, women get paid the same as their male counterparts without discrimination when holding the same positions/job title. A Saudi male professor is paid the same as a female professor, and so are doctors, teachers, etc. So why aren’t women in the private sector treated the same way?”
The Shoura member is hoping the recommendation, as well as spreading awareness through social media, will help women to realize that they can fight wage inequality and demand equal pay by law. “If nothing else, I’m hopeful it will bring awareness of the issue and make employers and employees more aware of the ‘equal pay for equal work’ law.”

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