65,000 Saudi women replace male staff in 13,000 accessory shops

When the national program for women employment started, female workers were employed as saleswomen

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The male staff of over 13,000 women’s accessory shops all over the Kingdom have been replaced by 65,000 women, said Dr. Fahad Sulaiman al-Tekhaifi, assistant undersecretary for private programs.

Addressing a workshop on “Role of inspection visits to women’s accessory shops,” he said Saudi women have proved they can be successful in the private sector, especially in the women’s accessory sector.

They have won the trust of employers and some of them work as supervisors for SR20,000 a month, Tekhaifi said.

When the national program for women employment started, female workers were employed as saleswomen. Gradually, they started to get better job opportunities with more responsibilities.

Faisal al-Otaibi, director of inspection department at the ministry, announced the launch of two new inspection programs. The first is an operation room and the second an electronic inspection program, which allows inspectors to spot violations through electronic devices.

Ziyad al-Sayegh, undersecretary for customer services and labor affairs, said the ministry has launched a new mechanism to handle complaints and process them within 10 days from the date of filing.

More than 105,000 complaints, an average of 500 a day, have been received by the department since last September. The ministry has around 245 call centers to receive complaints.

The ministry started intensive inspections last year after its deadline to employ Saudi female staff expired on July 7, 2013.

The inspection formed part of the second phase to feminizing shops selling women’s dresses, abayas and accessories. It was complimentary to the first stage of feminizing lingerie shops.

In March, the ministry started the implementation of the third phase of the feminization of shops selling women’s accessories. This phase includes shops selling female perfumes, Jalabiyas (traditional dresses), bags, shoes, socks, clothes and fabrics for women as well as shops selling mother-care products (baby stuff are excluded), and pharmacies in malls selling beauty products and accessories.

By October 2016, the ministry plans to achieve its goal to employ women in all stores selling women’s accessories.

(The article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on June 2, 2014)

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