Female security guards a boon to public security
Ever since the Ministry of Labor began implementing a royal decree in early 2012 that banned men from working in stores that sell lingerie, cosmetics and other goods exclusively marketed to women, job opportunities for Saudi women have increased exponentially. Once marginalized, women are now participants in the Kingdom’s economic development, which means many are making a name for themselves in fields traditionally dominated by men. The private security business is one such industry where women are competing against their male counterparts for jobs and finding great success.
Malls, parks and banks are some of the places where the services of female security guards are needed and women have succeeded in providing Saudi families with both security and responsible, swift action during emergencies. Umm Miteb Al-Otaibi never thought she would work as a security guard but she said her job has helped her become a stronger person who can help people during emergencies.
“Working as a security guard has given me great strength and wisdom when dealing with emergency situations. It also provides me with a steady income, something I was in bad need of,” she said.
Fatima Al-Habsi said working as a security guard has allowed her to become close to families and win their trust in protecting their children, both of which come in handy when fights break out between shoppers or children at mall arcades. She believes women can be successful security guards if they are given the right incentives, pay and training.
Member of the Security Affairs Committee in the Shoura Council, Abdulrahman Al-Atawi, believes female security guards provide services that contribute to protecting lives, properties and privacy.
“Female security guards play a big role in organizing work and ensuring implementation and compliance of regulations. They also play a major role in emergencies including fires and evacuations,” he said.
Al-Atawi added that forming female security and safety units is necessary due to changing social interactions where women are increasingly exposed to risks that threaten their lives, honor and money.
“This necessitates that government and private authorities and institutions that provide services to women give attention to this matter. The supervisory authorities should monitor the implementation of female security staff and penalize anyone who delays in hiring them,” he added.
According to Al-Atawi, the Ministry of Interior supports security services that can be provided by the private sector to whoever requests it, including authorities that are compelled to provide security guards through the Private Civil Security Guards regulation issued in 2005. He said Article 5 of the regulation stresses that those working in private civil security establishments and companies should be Saudi nationals. Also, Article 3, of the regulation allows authorities and companies to set up security units. “This provides job opportunities to Saudi men and women in all private and public authorities. This has also helped in providing jobs to women while taking into consideration their privacy in offices, departments and stores that exclusively cater to women.”