Shops shuttered for defying law on female staff

Updated 26 February 2013
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Shops shuttered for defying law on female staff

 

The Labor Ministry in coordination with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs yesterday closed 18 lingerie shops in shopping centers in eastern Riyadh for failing to employ Saudi women.
“We’ll close down all shops that sell lingerie and women’s accessories if they do not fulfill Saudization conditions,” the ministry said. “We have taken this measure to show that we are serious about it.” 
The ministry’s officials will visit shopping centers in different parts of the Kingdom to track down violators of the law. “We’ll deploy female inspectors to ensure there is no foul play in appointing women at these shops,” the ministry said.
Municipalities have been given instructions to issue temporary closure notices if shop owners fail to employ Saudi women.
“We have taken a step by step approach in this matter. We started by educating shop owners on the need to employ women. After that we impose fines, deny computer services, issue notices for temporary closure before finally closing them down,” it said.
The ministry will also seek the assistance of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) to ensure the lingerie shops employ women.
According to the conditions set by the ministry, lingerie shops should employ only Saudi women and there should not be any male workers including salesmen and accountants at these shops. Owners will have the right either to allow only women or only families. Saleswomen at these shops should wear modest dresses.
The ministry has urged the public to inform it if there are any irregularities at these shops by contacting the toll-free no. 920001173 or via email: [email protected]
The Labor Ministry recently signed an agreement with the Haia to expand job opportunities for women at lingerie shops.
Women’s sections in large multipurpose shopping centers should be separated by a wall of 160 cm. Women workers must contact the Haia or police if they face any harassment at work by male employees or shoppers.
 


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.