RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s total female workforce participation rose to 33.6 percent in the first quarter of 2022 from 20.5 percent in the same period in 2019, when most countries globally saw a decline in female participation, according to a report released by the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority, also known as Monsha’at.
In the report, Monsha’at revealed that the female unemployment rate in the Kingdom fell to 21.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, while it was 31.7 percent during the same period in 2019.
Signaling Saudi Arabia’s success in filling the gender gap in the SMEs sector, the report noted that the Kingdom has 45 percent female leaders in the sector.
“Saudi Arabia’s private sector has been a major beneficiary of the influx of dynamic female workers, with many female entrepreneurs grabbing new and emerging opportunities in the accommodation and food, wholesale and retail, health, and professional support service industries,” said Monsha’at in the report.
The report further noted that the rise in female entrepreneurship and workforce in the country is due to various factors which include regulatory reforms focused on empowering women in the workplace and creating female entrepreneurs, programs like “She’s Next,” which provides access to credit and financing, and the Wusool Program which provides 80 percent subsidies for transportation costs between workplace and home.
The report added that Monsha’at’s Women Dashboard which provides female entrepreneurs with an exclusive portal for SME support services has also played a crucial role in elevating the number of female entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.
“Monsha’at, through its SME services, is empowering Saudi women across different industries and plays an active role in the positive reforms at work in the Kingdom. The World Bank has recognized Saudi Arabia as a top performer in regulations governing women’s rights in business. Saudi Arabia’s score of 80 far exceeds the Middle East and North Africa average of 51.5,” Monsha’at further noted in the report.