Male colleagues? 47% Saudi women have no problem

working woman in saudi

About 47 percent of Saudi women say they have no problem in working with male colleagues, while 44 percent of Saudi men would not prevent their female relatives from working with male colleagues and customers, a recent survey conducted by Khadeeja bint Khuwailed Center has revealed.

The survey result is significant, as Human Resources experts have estimated the number of unemployed women in the Kingdom at 85 percent.

About 70 percent of Saudis registered with the Hafiz unemployment allowance program are women and most of them hold university degrees.

Speaking with Arab News, Saudi analyst Badr Almotawa disputed the survey’s findings, saying they don’t represent the reality. He said more than 70 percent Saudis would not allow their female relatives to work with male colleagues.

“They have not done the survey properly, maybe they have taken the opinion of men and women in a specific environment,” he said.

Almotawa urged the government to create suitable working atmosphere for women and commended the Labor Ministry’s efforts in this respect. “Women should be allowed to work from home using modern communication facilities to avoid harassment and family problems,” he said.

Basma Al-Omair, executive director of the center, said only four percent of Saudi women engage in business activities. “Of all of the Saudi female potential employees, only 30 percent work in the private sector while 66 percent do so in the public sector,” Al-Omair said.

Hisham Al-Khaledi, HR manager of Al-Shayie company, said job environment was the main challenge facing Saudi women in the retail sector, where they would have to work with men and be face to face with male customers as well. “Many parents and husbands do not like to send their women to work in a mixed atmosphere,” he pointed out.

Lack of training and transportation are other major obstacles, Al-Khaledi said. About 60 percent of working women in the Kingdom depend on private drivers or taxis and pay about 25 percent of their salaries to meet their transportation expenses.


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