Saudi Arabia committed to “25 by 25” to reduce the gap in labor market

A session on "Approaching Challenges from Different Perspective" of the T20 Inception Conference in Riyadh. (AN photo/Rashid Hassan)
Short Url
Updated 21 January 2020

Saudi Arabia committed to “25 by 25” to reduce the gap in labor market

  • The G20 engagement groups share common areas of interest in the pursuit of their specific objectives including women, youth and sustainable development

RIYADH: Reducing the gender gap in labor participation is a moral imperative as well as a key for growth and sustainable development, which is why G20 countries have committed to reduce the gap in women’s labor participation 25 percent by 2025.

Speaking at a session called “Approaching challenges from different perspectives” on the concluding day of the T20 Inception Conference in Riyadh on Monday, Thoraya Obaid, chair of the W20 engagement group, said: “The G20 countries have committed to increasing women’s participation 25 percent by 2025. We in the Kingdom have also adopted this in our Saudi Vision 2030 Program.”

The G20 engagement groups share common areas of interest in the pursuit of their specific objectives including women, youth and sustainable development.

Princess Nouf bint Mohammed of the C20 engagement group highlighted the importance of civil society taking commitments and promises seriously, and fulfilling its promises with implementation and accountability.

“Civil Society is our heart and soul, we are the people on the ground, and provide support to reach our goals,” she said.

“Together with other engagement groups, we have all adopted a joint statement to work in the pursuit of specific objectives. I think where we can make it big collectively is on the climate issue.”

Othman Al-Moamar, of Y20 engagement group, said: “Young people are the most important component in today’s technology driven world, therefore more young people in entrepreneurship means more prosperity, and opportunities.”

Highlighting their role, Nasser Al-Jaryad of L20 engagement group said: “Our aim is empowering people, guaranteeing minimum living wages and collective bargaining, promoting social dialogue for social cohesion, and ending corporate monopolies.

“We also take all possible actions to improve the progressiveness of taxation system,” he added.

Abdulmohsen Al-Ghanam of U20 engagement group said their themes represented common challenges and aspirations of global cities.

The session was moderated by Abdullah Al-Saud, member of the T20 steering committee and director of research at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.
 


Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province feels very American, says US consul general

US Consul General Rachna Korhonen finds the diwaniya and majlis culture of the Eastern Province fascinating. (Supplied)
Updated 25 February 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province feels very American, says US consul general

  • Saudi hospitality wins the heart of diplomat who considers Kingdom one of her favorite destinations

DAMMAM: The US consul general in Dhahran, Rachna Korhonen, lists the Kingdom as one of her favorite places and is in love with the local culture and traditions.

Working in the Kingdom since 2017, she has been impressed by the tremendous changes taking place in Saudi Arabia under Vision 2030.
Arab News caught up with Korhonen to discuss all things American and Saudi.
“As US Ambassador Abizaid has said, the US-Saudi partnership is more vital than ever, particularly as we confront regional security challenges and work hand-in-hand to achieve shared economic and political objectives.”
This relationship is strong and multifaceted, she said, adding: “We work together every day to promote prosperity and economic development, protect the security of our two countries, and build the people-to-people ties that keep our relationship strong.”
She said that a posting to Saudi Arabia was her first choice for an assignment.
“I did not know at the time that I would be the first woman to serve as the US consul general in Dhahran. I really wanted to learn about energy! I was pretty nervous and somewhat scared, but also excited and enthusiastic. I spent three years in Riyadh and some time in Kuwait and Iraq so I had a pretty good understanding of the region.”
Korhonen speaks highly of the Saudi hospitality and the way people welcomed her.
“I came (to the Kingdom) just before Eid Al-Adha. It is a tradition that the consul general makes Eid calls to visit prominent families. I was lucky enough to meet people from the very first moment I arrived. I have always made an effort to get to meet people at different occasions. Saudis have welcomed me into their homes, shared meals and traditions with me. I really have the best job in the best place at the best time,” she told Arab News.

Saudis have welcomed me into their homes, shared meals and traditions with me.

Rachna Korhonen, US consul general

Korhonen said she finds the diwaniya and majlis culture of the Eastern Province fascinating.
“I enjoy meeting new people and learning about what is happening in the Eastern Province. Diwaniyas are a great place to do that. I also love gahwa (Arabic coffee) and dates,” she said.
Korhonen said the Eastern Province feels very American to her. She thinks this is partly due to the close relationship enjoyed by the countries since the 1930s, which began with Aramco and also because thousands of Saudis from the Eastern Province have studied in the US.
Commenting on the social transformation in the Kingdom under Vision 2030, she said: “I still remember very well the first game I attended in Saudi Arabia. It was a very hot and humid day in August, but I wanted to be in attendance to show support for the Eastern Province teams. There was a big crowd and the energy in the stadium was amazing. At that game, I was the only woman in the family section. Now, it completely feels normal to see entire Saudi families in the stands. I could be anywhere in the world at a sporting event. It’s such a huge change.”
She told Arab News that “there have been no recent changes” in the US visa process, adding: “We have visa appointments most weeks from Sunday to Thursday. We encourage everyone interested in going to the US this summer to start thinking about applying now, since we expect demand will grow as we approach the summer season.
“We continue to look for ways to reduce the amount of time a person spends in our waiting room, the wait for visa appointments (especially for students), and the time it takes for someone to get their passport back with the visa.”
She said her favorite initiative that brings Saudis and Americans together is the International Leadership Program.
“The consulate also works with local Saudi partners to bring American athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists and other experts to the Eastern Province to exchange ideas and explore ways to collaborate. Our EducationUSA office helps Saudi students who are interested in studying in the US learn about US universities, the admission process and how to prepare for their educational experience,” the consul general said.