Women’s rise helping economy in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia


Various economic reforms underway are helping to cement the participation of women in the country’s economy, according to experts.

ABHA: Economist Muhammad Al-Bashri said the reforms have ensured that women are increasingly setting up and running small businesses. 

However, they are still not saving as much as they should be, and many with diplomas remain unemployed.

He said that Saudi women make up 21 percent of investments in the private sector, have registered 43,000 businesses and own 20,000 small and medium-sized businesses. The size of their investments stands at SR8 billion. They make up 75 percent of savings in banks.

More than 20 percent of funds invested in joint business operations come from women. However, they make up 14.11 percent of the labor force in the Kingdom, with 30 percent employed by state institutions. In addition, 84.1 percent are employed in the education sector; and make up 40 percent of Saudi doctors.

Businesswoman Fatin Bundagji said that women still do not have adequate representation at the country’s chambers of commerce and industry, making up only 20 percent of members, while the government has stipulated that it should be nothing less than 50 percent.

This means that there should be further reforms undertaken in the country’s economy to support women’s empowerment. Women play as essential role in the economy as men, she said.

Businesswoman Sarah Al-Ayed said there is considerable support for women, but there needs to be greater participation in the small business sector, and in partnerships with both private and public sector agencies.

Economist Fadil Abulainain said that while legislation does not differentiate between men and women, with support for membership of commerce chambers and municipal councils, there needs to be a greater focus on how to change attitudes in society.

Businesswoman Nora Al-Rafi said that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has provided unprecedented support for women, in line with what has been happening over the past number of years. (N24India)