Saudi women in Shoura Council ‘an important landmark’

The members have made a number of decisions supporting women’s entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia

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One of the most important landmarks of the era of Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah was allowing women to participate for the first time in the Shoura Council, said a researcher from King Faisal University in Abha, Al-Riyadh daily reported.

Uhood Al-Wadei, who works at the university’s Prince Sultan Tourism College, said: “At present, with the international challenges and the latest developments due to the fast tempo of life today, women in the Kingdom have been promised during this era with ample support and big expansion opportunities in the business field and allowed to contribute to all economic, social and cultural fields.”

Al-Wadei, who developed a study on the difficulties facing female entrepreneurs in small projects in Abha and Khamis Mushayt, said 80 percent of Saudi women are in the education field.

She said seven fields have been opened for women in the labor market with the aim of reducing unemployment among women.

Al-Wadei said there are many jobs that Saudi women can take up such as administrative positions in courts, notary public offices and municipalities.

“Also, factories exclusively run by women can be set up, such as factories for food, handicrafts, fabrics, carpets, clothes, designs, fashion, gold ornaments, interior design, and computer centers.

“Women can also work as researchers, lawyers and legal investigators for women and juveniles.

“Malls, bookstores, research centers, universities and schools can be established exclusively for women.”

Women’s participation in the Shoura Council has made a difference to the decision-making body, she said.

“Many issues were solved and others were closed quickly when women were allowed to participate in the decision-making process.”

Al-Wadei said according to a study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the number of Saudi businesswomen holding commercial registrations has exceeded 30,000.

The amount of cash held by Saudi women in banks has reached SR65 billion. Quoting Huda Al-Jeraisi, head of the Saudi businesswomen’s section at the Council of Saudi Chambers, she said the number of investment and economic projects owned by Saudi businesswomen has exceeded 100,000 and are worth in excess of $80 billion.

According to the council’s figures, the number of commercial registers belonging to Saudi businesswomen as of 2012 has reached 72,494, while the number of female subscribers in the chambers of commerce and industry has reached 38,750.

Al-Wadei said recently the topic of improving Saudi women’s participation in economic development has occupied a prominent place in the list of strategic priorities and national development plans.

A number of decisions were issued supporting women’s entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia.

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