Saudi Arabia sees 112 percent increase in commercial registrations for businesswomen

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Saudi Arabia has issued 139,754 new commercial licenses to women in 2021, marking one of the largest growth rates according to records, the Ministry of Commerce announced in a statement.

The ministry reported a 112 percent increase in commercial registrations issued for women entrepreneurs in six years from 2015.

In contrast, the report said that 65,912 commercial registrations were issued to female-owned businesses in 2015.

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Under the National Transformation Program of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, empowering women and increasing their participation in the workforce is a key objective.

Visitors shop at businesses owned by Saudi women in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, February 22, 2019. (Reuters)
Visitors shop at businesses owned by Saudi women in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, February 22, 2019. (Reuters)

On Wednesday, a job advert to recruit 30 female train drivers in Saudi Arabia attracted 28,000 applicants, highlighting the scale of demand as the Kingdom increases the opportunities for women.

These landmark changes in the Saudi ecosystem come after elaborate measures were taken to promote and protect women’s rights across sectors, and notably, in the country’s labor force.

This includes laws to “stop discrimination in the framework of work” and establish “a number of rights and duties on an equal footing between men and women, such as equal pay in the event of equal value and quality of work, and full equality in the search for work aid, and in training programs to obtain work,” according to a detailed women empowerment strategy shared on the Saudi National Portal for Government Services.

As for the rise in female entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Commerce report found that activities were taken up across major sectors including wholesale and retail trade, information and communication technology, administrative services, professional, scientific and technical activities, transportation and logistics, real estate activities, and contracting.

The ministry statement added that: “It also took care of its services to the business sector by establishing business centers for women within a new and advanced work environment that relies on modern technologies that facilitate procedures that save time for businesswomen.”

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