Abid Khazindar • Al-Riyadh
Monday 20 June 2005
Last Update 20 June 2005 12:00 am
Some 2,500 women recently applied for 12 jobs at Taiba University in Madinah. The newly established university advertised for staff with BA degrees and six years experience working with computers and information systems. The qualifications sought by the university could not probably be found anywhere except in India, a country which is moving ahead of Europe and the US in computer technology. Just as an aside, we ought to be aware that the man who set up hotmail was an Indian. Microsoft rewarded him with $6 million in cash.
Having found that it would not be easy to find women with six years experience, the university lowered its demand for experience for some jobs from six years to three. On the day the advertisement appeared, the university received 500 applications; by the end of the next day, the number had risen to 2,500. If the report was true, this means we have 2,500 Saudi women who, despite being trained in the use of computers, are unemployed. True that perhaps not all of them have the required experience but experience, after all, is gained through work. It seems that the Labor Ministry is making no effort at all toward Saudizing computer jobs.
If this is the case with women who studied and received training in this important field, what fate awaits the thousands of others who specialized in purely theoretical studies?
I don’t know if the eligible applicants were employed by the university; for sure, however, we all know what will be the lot of the unselected applicants. They will stay at home, waiting for a miracle, perhaps marriage. Like the issue of women driving, women’s employment will continue to face many obstacles as a result of unyielding social pressure and tradition that seeks to keep women behind four walls.