NEW DELHI: Saudi Arabia’s Labor 20 representative Rimah Saleh Al-Yahya has highlighted women’s empowerment policies in the Kingdom during the G20 engagement group summit that concluded in India on Friday.
Labor 20, or L20, is one of 11 official networking groups of the Group of 20 largest economies, and represents the interests of workers from the countries that together represent 66 percent of the world’s population and around 75 percent of global economic output.
Under India’s presidency of G20 this year, the group’s priority areas are “Universal Social Security” and “Women and Future of Work.”
Al-Yahya, a member of the Saudi Shoura Council who served as the Kingdom’s first female deputy minister of private higher education, chaired the Labor 20 taskforce on women and the future of work.
She told Arab News the Labor 20 Summit held in Patna, Bihar, on June 22-23 was a “good chance to showcase all the progress that Saudi Arabia has done for women” under its Vision 2030 diversification plan.
“King Salman, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and His Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have worked so hard to increase the participation of women in the work market,” Al-Yahya said.
“The government brought in many policies that introduced flexibility in the workplace for women, including remote working arrangements and flexible working hours which would benefit a woman who is juggling work and family responsibilities.”
Under Vision 2030, the female employment rate is targeted to reach at least 30 percent. More women are also encouraged to take up leadership positions.
Al-Yahya, former vice rector of Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, saw the participation of female Saudi delegates at G20 as a direct display of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to reach these goals.
“This is a chance to showcase it more elaborately just by being here. We are ambassadors of what our country has made of us,” she said.
“Myself being a part of this (summit), I was example of how we have been supported by our government, supported by our country to try to do our best and to be equal with men in our leadership role. They are empowering women to hold this leadership role, even in companies.”
Reactions of fellow delegates to the Labor 20 engagement group were also encouraging, as they acknowledged Saudi progress.
“The G20 countries vary in their needs, they vary in their capabilities depending on the country’s economy, as well as the dominating social plan and the average level of education, (but) almost all women are challenged in similar ways, especially in the work-life balance themes,” Al-Yahya said.
“We were supported by all the countries. They have already seen, and they have heard all the progress that has been happening in Saudi Arabia. The world can see it.”