RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s drive to encourage female participation in the public and private sector has resulted in the total number of employed women increasing 20 percent to 1.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2022 compared with 1.2 million in the same period of 2021, showed a government report.
According to the General Authority of Statistics, the numbers of female workers in the private and public sectors in the fourth quarter of last year were 861,197 and 609,364, respectively.
The ratio of employed women to the population in the fourth quarter of 2022 increased to 30.4 percent compared with 27.6 percent in the same period in 2021, reflecting their growing economic engagement.
Female labor force participation increased to 36 percent, up from 35.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2021 as the Kingdom continues to exceed its Vision 2030 objective of a 30 percent rate.
The report further pointed out that the total employed women subject to social insurance laws and regulations reached 970,330 in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Moreover, between October and December last year, the highest number of female workers was in the combined economic activity of wholesale, retail and repair of motor vehicles, which amounted to 192,952 female workers.
Construction activity was the second-highest category for women workers at 139,654, and healthcare was the third-highest activity at 111,052.
The GASTAT numbers echoed the findings of the Saudi Human Rights Commission when in February, its president Hala Al-Tuwaijri announced that the share of women employed in Saudi Arabia jumped to 35 percent from 21 percent in five years.
The Kingdom’s unemployment rate dropped significantly in the last five years, from 11.6 percent to 5.8 percent.
“As a result of these efforts, the share of women in the labor market increased from 21.2 percent to 34.7 percent, and the rate of their economic participation jumped from 17 percent to 37 percent during the period between 2017 and 2022,” said Al-Tuwaijri during the 52nd session of the UN’s Human Rights Council held in February.
Speaking at the G20 Riyadh summit in 2020, King Salman made clear the vital role that female engagement will play as Saudi Arabia’s economy and society changes.
“Women are a main source of development for any society. Hence, without empowered women, it is almost impossible to implement any societal reforms. Throughout history, women have proven their prominent and effective role in driving change and decision-making,” he said.