Saudi women in security positions challenge stereotypes

Saudi women in security positions challenge stereotypes
Updated 29 March 2015

Saudi women in security positions challenge stereotypes

Saudi women in security positions challenge stereotypes

With a growing number of facilities in the Kingdom, a need for female security guards arose. More women are joining this field and are taking their spots in private offices run by women, banks, malls and other social, educational and health facilities.
Warda Al-Yani recently decided to become a guard and says people were skeptical at first, telling her she was taking up a man’s job. Al-Yani said there’s more acceptance of women in this job after many women in this profession have proven their excellence.
However, workers in this domain say this job is not for men alone. “On the contrary, these guards have access to zones men can’t enter like female prayer rooms or toilets,” Khalid Al-Fehaid, manager at a commercial mall, told Arab News.
He said women need to be over 26 years old and have enough confidence to do the job with its security aspects and accompanying problems. “We face sensitive issues like women fainting or fighting, and women security guards are the only people who can deal with these problems, carrying the women or touching them,” Al-Fehaid added.
Economist Fadl Al-Bouainain, said work in security will definitely take Saudi women out of traditional jobs in the health and education sectors and into other fields. He explained that this new direction will give women a greater opportunity to fight unemployment.
Al-Bouainain clarified that the Saudi women have started branching out to include working as lawyers, cashiers, marketing personnel and even in real estate, adding that Saudi women have proved to be up to the new challenge, and “woman’s persistence will lead them to prove their excellence in many fields not only this one,” he added.
“The female security sector will need thousands of women applicants,” he reports, stressing the importance of training to achieve the desired goals and meeting the job’s requirements.
Ali Al-Zahrani, general supervisor in a security company at a commercial mall, told Arab News that more women are applying to work as security guards adding that a majority of them hold university degrees. Al-Zahrani said that some malls have a quota for the number of women they employ.
Khaled Al-Mashaan, owner of a security company in Asir, said that women have proven their excellence in the security field and have shown to be patient amidst the pressure and workload. He has employed women in the security sector at parties, schools, universities and other private events.
Al-Mashaan added that there’s a need to spread awareness in society regarding women working in this job and create an understanding on the nature of the job. “There should be cooperation by all members of the community to achieve success,” he explained.
Fatima Al-Zamil, working security at one of Asir’s malls, said that security guards need to have specific qualities to carry out the difficulties of this job.”A woman in this job needs to have a strong personality and to be bold, patient, quick-witted, smart, detail-oriented and a fun person, and at the same time able to deal with people,” she noted adding that a security guard needs to be able to maintain security which she described as a difficult job.
On the other side, there are many skeptical and unsupportive people, says Security Guard Turkiyyeh Hamed. “We face a lot of underestimation, especially from women who look on us as inferior,” she claimed.
“Sometimes they swear at or criticize us.” Hamed hopes society will accept them working in these positions which will help them perform their duties.