Saudi Woman Represents Nucleus of Society, Main Partner in Development Process
Saudi women, side by side with men, are moving at a steady pace, participating in the advancement of the national development, equipped with their full rights and legislation that support their active role in the process of construction and development.
The empowerment of women and their participation has become a priority in the government's policy. This is reflected in Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud's annual speech before the Shura Council: "We will continue our efforts to empower Saudi women and raise their participation in the public and private sectors."
Saudi women's share in the civil service and labour market has expanded. It is based on firm pillars in terms of academic and professional qualification in various fields, which were boosted by the Saudi Vision 2030 targets to increase women's share to drive their efforts to serve the community and homeland. Such endeavours increased the Kingdom's index to 80 points in 2022 compared to 25.63 points in 2019 in the field of women's empowerment, according to the World Bank's Women, Business and the Law report.
National efforts towards women's empowerment are based on the belief in their participatory role in the development process that the Kingdom is witnessing to move towards a vibrant society, a prosperous economy and an ambitious homeland, which will all reflect in the Kingdom's international presence and align its vision for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including the establishment of the Family Affairs Council in 2016 concerned with the representation of various groups in society, including women, in international organizations and bodies. The national efforts also include proposing legislation and following up on the recommendations and conventions ratified by the Kingdom in international organizations, as well as unifying efforts of all sectors of the government with regard to family issues.
Since the announcement of the Saudi Vision 2030 on April 25, 2016, the Kingdom has realized several achievements in the field of women's empowerment policies. The initiative to empower women came within the General budget of the state to act as a comprehensive approach to facilitate their access to available resources to enable them to participate in line with the Kingdom's values and principles and contribute to the achievement of SDGs.
According to the objectives of the National Transformation Program, Saudi women surpassed their economic participation rate in the labour market by 35.6% in the second quarter of 2022, exceeding the index rate from a baseline of 17% in 2017 to a target of 31.4% in 2025.
Work paths among government sectors to empower women were parallel and harmonious. To this end, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has launched a series of initiatives and programs, including stimulating and supporting balance in the labour market, the training and leadership program for women employees and the parallel training initiative.
The ministry's initiatives have added a new approach to the management of work, such as encouraging remote work, flexible work and self-employment, and launched the Qiyadyat Platform. At the same time, the Human Resources Development Fund has been assigned with supporting and preparing tasks for women such as employment support programs, "Qurrah" program to support the employed mother by taking care of her children during her working hours, and the "Wosoul" program, which facilitates women workers' movement to and from work, among other programs.
For its part, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has sought to provide more job opportunities for Saudi women, including leadership positions and introduced training programs, bringing women's participation to 30.49%. Future initiatives in several modern, traditional and emerging technological areas have contributed to qualifying 30,232 female trainees and employing 15,311 women.
The ministry has also launched several programs to increase women leaders, including the Women Leaders in the Digital World Program and the Women Leaders in Technology Award, as well as stimulating creative ideas through the Technical Entrepreneurs Program, targeting innovative entrepreneurs. In its second edition, it presented about 1,806 ideas by female entrepreneurs, who made up 40% of the total participants.
The ministry also launched an initiative entitled "Digital Giving" to enhance digital literacy and digital awareness among members of society, where female members formed 194,110, along with several events that shed light on women's empowerment, including the "Women Conference: Empowerment-Excellence", to highlight the most important inspiring women figures.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice has empowered women and increased their participation in its career staff by 3,538 female employees, raised the proportion of Saudi women lawyers by licensing 2,136 women lawyers, as well as allocating training programs to women lawyers, benefiting 3,165 female trainees, empowering 703 legal representatives, and enabling the registration of women in the "Reconciliation Center."
Workplaces and various specializations and job grades have been enlisted to keep abreast of the country's well-qualified Saudi women and to enable them to assume leadership positions, including Dr. Iman bint Habas Al-Mutairi, Deputy Minister of Commerce, where the Ministry of Commerce and the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monshaat) enabled businesswomen to practice commercial activities and benefit from technology in flexible procedures for issuing commercial records and certificates of practising professions.
Monshaat took the initiative to spread the culture of entrepreneurship, where the number of female beneficiaries has reached 2,769,734, increasing the number of women's enterprises to 45% compared to 2022.
Towards achieving the objectives of the ambitious vision, women's participation in the Ministry of Education has increased, and they have held academic, administrative and leadership positions at the public and university education levels. The empowerment procedures kept pace with scholarship, training and development programs, which contributed to increasing the classified scientific publication by 91% over the past three years, in addition to increasing the citation of scientific papers to 52%.
In the youth and sports sector, the Ministry of Sport has promoted women's participation in various sports, established 25 women's teams in multiple games for the first time, and has also organized women's tournaments and hosted international tournaments.
At the health level, the Ministry of Health has supported women through their empowerment at work. It was keen to care for their health by establishing specialized women's and children's health clinics to provide all educational, preventive and treatment services.
The efforts exerted in women's empowerment and enhancement of their status in society are not limited to those sectors but extend to all military, medical, social, cultural, development and service institutions in order to grant women the opportunity to share their ideas and efforts for the prosperity and development of the homeland
Source: Saudi Press Agency