Saudi Shoura Council sees importance of voluntary work in community

Shoura Council in progress. (File photo)
Updated 22 February 2018
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Saudi Shoura Council sees importance of voluntary work in community

RIYADH: The Committee of Social Affairs, Family and Youth at the Shoura Council has called for the approval of a draft voluntary work proposal.
Having listened to the report in their 20th ordinary session on Wednesday, a number of members supported the proposal and its importance to the community.
In another decision, the Council asked the Saudi Red Crescent Commission (SRCC) to coordinate with the private health sector in finding a joint work mechanism when providing emergency services and providing suitable insurance coverage for emergency vehicles to ensure quality services.
The Council further called for the appointment of a specialized and neutral agency to evaluate the efficiency of the SRCC’s structural, financial and technical elements in order to properly carry out its duties.
Later, the Council listened to a report presented by the House Committee of Transport, Communications and Information Technology based on the annual report of the Transport Ministry. The members asked the ministry to explain the reasons behind the rapid deterioration of roads, and suitable solutions for this situation. The members also asked the ministry to include in its upcoming reports safety initiatives to minimize deaths arising from road accidents.
In another decision, the Council asked the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) to assess the economic impact of its investments in terms of income and employment in its industrial cities.
After deliberations on a report presented by the House Committee of Hajj and Housing on the annual report of the RCJY, one member asked for a proper assessment of the RCJY investments that will allow independently fixing the profitability of each project.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.