Efforts to empower Saudi women by absorbing them in the job market have been successful, according to a top official of the Ministry of Labor and Social Development.

Nawal Abdullah Al-Thabian, assistant director general of the ministry’s branch in Makkah province, has said some 600,000 Saudi women have already joined the job market.

The women workforce is not only productive but also creative despite the many obstacles and challenges that they experience, Al-Thabian said.

Delivering a lecture at a conference titled “Empowerment of Saudi Women in Light of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030” at King Abdulaziz University, she said ministry had initiated 68 schemes to facilitate employment opportunities for women in the Kingdom.

Many successful Saudi women participated in brainstorming sessions and panel discussions over

two days of the conference, which was inaugurated by Prince Mishal Bin Majed, governor of Jeddah.

Al-Thabian said Labor Ministry had been introducing exclusive programs to empower women in the context of nationalization in the retail sector and the transportation project for workingwomen came as part of such efforts.

Al-Thabian revealed that ministry was concentrating on day care facilities to take care of workingwomen’s children through the QARA scheme. She said the ministry was covering the cost of day care for up to four children. So far, 13,516 workingwomen benefited from the scheme, she said.

Al-Thabian said the ministry was granting charitable and cooperative societies licenses to operate such day care centers and nurseries as part of measures to support workingwomen.

Sahar Bint Hassan Khayat, professor of economics at KAU, said a total of SR344 billion had been invested in the Kingdom in 2018 through 499 licensed projects that had huge potentiality for women empowerment.

She said there was a significant growth in foreign direct investment in the Kingdom in recent years and vast opportunities awaited the women workforce.

Prominent businesswoman Nashwa Tahir said the private sector had played a crucial role in the empowerment of Saudi women by giving them a variety of options to choose jobs according to their skills.

Describing 2008 as a turning point in women empowerment in Saudi Arabia, she said women were allowed to enter the real estate and contracting sector during the year.

Tahir recommended mooting programs for systematic empowerment of women in the private sector as well as in social life through a dedicated ministry for women and child welfare.

Professor Raja Al-Qahtani said women empowerment started in the Kingdom in the 1960s itself when the first schools for women opened in the country.

Professor Huda Amal shed the light on Princess Noura University’s experience in empowering women while Undersecretary of the Ministry of Education Dr. Haya Al-Awad briefed the audience about various initiatives by educational institutions in the Kingdom to empower women by offering quality education.

Al-Alwad said the Education Ministry established centers to enhance the academic experience of women in English, science, mathematics and engineering support for specialized fields.

She said the ministry also launched vocational education for women in the Kingdom.

Noted health professional Samia Al-Amoudi explained Saudi women’s achievements in the healthcare field. She said from nursing to various rare medical specializations Saudi women proved their excellence. “Saudi women health professionals were recognized in regional and international levels,” she added.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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