75% of Saudi women skills go unused
By WALAA HAWARI
Published: Oct 4, 2010
RIYADH: Less than a quarter of the Kingdomís women workforce is being utilized in the countryís development, said Aziza Al-Khateeb, a businesswoman, academic and member of the Saudi Economic Association.
Al-Khateeb made the comments while delivering a paper at a two-day forum for businesswomen that opened in Riyadh on Monday. She added that women in the Kingdom are generally employed in clerical jobs and not in crucial, decision-making positions.
According to the Ministry of Labor statistics, the majority of jobs women are employed in are of a clerical nature and not more than 4 percent of them hold key positions.
Al-Khateeb said highly skilled and qualified women should be in leading, decision-making and consultative positions.
She also called for regulations to protect women in the workplace from harassment and from those who work to prevent them from getting involved in the nationís development.
In her paper, Al-Khateeb said non-Saudis (of both genders) form 90 percent of the total manpower in the private sector. She further recommended training and education for all Saudis, with a particular focus on women.
She said programs should be developed to improve the skills and abilities of women to enhance their performance.
Laila Al-Hilaly, supervisor of Womenís Unit at the Riyadh municipality, delivered a paper in which she mentioned how women are empowered by a reduction in obstacles in their way.
Expanding on obstacles, Al-Hilaly said this includes removing the guardian concept and allowing them to obtain business permits on their own.
The forum aims to introduce Saudi businesswomen to investment opportunities in various economic sectors and broaden their participation.