Female unemployment soars in the Arab world

Foreign female workers gather outside Saudi immigration department as they try to get visas and legalize their work situation in Riyadh. (File Photo: AFP)
Updated 08 March 2018
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Female unemployment soars in the Arab world

BEIRUT: Unemployment among women in the Middle East is twice that of men, the United Nations said on Wednesday, pointing to low wages, a lack of skills and a belief among some that a woman’s place is in the home.
About 16 percent of women in Arab states are unemployed, compared to a global average of 6 percent, the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) said.
“The incentive for women to work in the Middle East is not there,” said Emanuela Pozzan, a gender specialist with the ILO, pointing to poor maternity provisions and costly childcare.
“The jobs are not attractive because the salaries are not attractive,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone.
Getting more women into work globally was essential to achieve a global goal of gender equality by 2030, the ILO said, calling for policymakers to recognize the “unequal demands” on women at home and in caring for others.
Farah Nawayseh, 29, said she had been looking for work in her home country of Jordan for nearly nine months. Traditional male views of women were a significant roadblock, she said.
“Because I am female it is harder for me to find jobs,” she said by phone from Amman, the capital. “It has to do with a conservative mindset that men don’t want women to work — they are for marriage and to be in the home.”
She said the monthly wage for the sales jobs she sought was about 200 Jordanian dinar ($282).
“A lot of the time when I go for jobs they are asking for males and the salaries are so low,” she said.
Middle Eastern countries are among the worst in the world for unequal pay between men and women, according to the World Economic Forum, a Swiss charity.
The five lowest ranking countries for women’s economic participation and opportunity are Syria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Iran, with a gap of at least 65 percent, it said. ($1 = 0.7080 Jordanian dinars)


Egyptian tomb reveals its secrets after 4,400 years in ‘find of the decades’

Guests enter a newly discovered tomb, belonging to the high priest ‘Wahtye,’ who served during the 5th dynasty reign of King Neferirkare (2500-2300 BC), at the Saqqara necropolis, 30 km from Cairo, on Saturday. (AFP)
Updated 38 min 24 sec ago
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Egyptian tomb reveals its secrets after 4,400 years in ‘find of the decades’

  • They expect to make more discoveries when they excavate those on Sunday
  • The priest’s tomb “is exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculpture inside”

CAIRO: Egyptian archaeologists have discovered the tomb of a priest dating back more than 4,400 years in the pyramid complex of Saqqara south of Cairo.

The tomb belongs to Wahtye, a high priest who served during the fifth-dynasty reign of King Neferirkare. It is decorated with scenes showing the royal priest alongside his mother, wife and other members of his family.

It also contains more than a dozen niches and 24 statues of the priest and members of his family.

The priest’s tomb “is exceptionally well preserved, colored, with sculpture inside. It belongs to a high official priest,” Antiquities Minister Khaled El-Enany said.

The tomb was found in a buried ridge at the ancient necropolis of Saqqara. It was untouched and unlooted, said Mostafa Waziri, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities. He described the find as “one of a kind in the last decades.”

Archaeologists removed a last layer of debris from the tomb on Thursday and found five shafts inside, Waziri said. 

They expect to make more discoveries when they excavate those on Sunday.

“I can imagine that all of the objects can be found in this area,” he said, pointing at one of the shafts. “This should lead to a coffin or a sarcophagus of the owner of the tomb.”

The fifth dynasty ruled Egypt from about 2,500 to 2,350 BC, not long after the great pyramid of Giza was built. Saqqara was the necropolis for Memphis, the capital of ancient Egypt for more than two millennia.