Saudi Press

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Sunday, Apr 02, 2023

Survey: Next 5 years will bring the best for Saudi women

Survey: Next 5 years will bring the best for Saudi women

Saudi Arabia celebrated International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8, at a time when Saudi women achieved high levels in quality of life and empowerment in almost all walks of life, especially in the diplomatic and sports fields.
According to a recent survey, carried out by the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, the reality is better than what it was five years ago with regard to the quality of life of Saudi women. The survey showed that the next five years will be the best for Saudi women.

Abdullah Al-Fawzan, deputy head of the center, said participants in the survey said that the next five years represent what is best for Saudi women. The study also showed that the share of women in the labor market reached 35 percent, while the unemployment rate among women dropped to 20 percent, and the percentage of female participation in high and middle administrative positions reached an estimated 39 percent.

The year 2017 witnessed a giant leap in women’s empowerment and that was accelerated after the historic decision to allow women to drive in 2018. It was followed by the passing of the Harassment Law, which emphasized the protection of women and the advancement of their status. Then came other landmark decisions such as permitting sports for girls in schools, and allowing families to attend football matches in stadiums. Saudi women have also obtained permission to participate in the Olympic Games. The women also got licenses to fly airplanes for the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia.

The year 2019 witnessed another milestone in the empowerment of Saudi women when Princess Reema bint Bandar was appointed the Saudi ambassador to the United States of America. This was for the first time a Saudi woman assumed the position of ambassador to a country.

At present, there are five Saudi women serving as ambassadors. They include Amal Al-Moallimi (Norway), Inas Al-Shahwan (Sweden), Nesreen Al-Shebel (Finland), and Haifa Al-Jedea, ambassador and head of Saudi Arabia’s Mission to the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC).

The Saudi leadership has taken many measures to enable Saudi women to assume leadership positions in the country. Women’s empowerment received a shot in the arm with the historic decision of King Abdullah to appoint women to the Shoura Council. In January 2013, a total of 30 women were appointed to the previously all-male consultative council. According to the royal decree, women should always hold at least a fifth of the 150-seat council.

In addition, women have been permitted to contest municipal elections and these followed the appointment of several women to leadership positions in both government and private sectors. The Kingdom’s Vision 2030 envisages a pioneering role for women in societal and economic development. There is an independent strategic goal in the Vision aimed at raising women’s competence and increasing their economic participation in the labor market.

President of the Human Rights Commission Dr. Hala Al-Tuwaijri recently indicated that the Kingdom has made great strides in the field of empowering women. The Kingdom’s Vision adopted women's empowerment as a strategic goal and it aimed to increase their participation in the labor market. Subsequently, a gender balance center was established in 2021.

As a result of these efforts, the share of women in the labor market increased during the 2017- 2022 period from 21.2 percent to 34.7 percent and the rate of their economic participation increased during the same period from 17 percent to 37 percent. The percentage of women’s representation in middle and high administrative positions jumped from 28.6 percent to 39 percent between 2017 and 2022.

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