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Saudi jewelry shops not ready for women employees yet

Most women who own such shops have employed their relatives to run their businesses

Published: Updated:

It is still inappropriate for women to work at jewelry shops because the working environment needs reforming, the chairman of the gold and jewelry committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry told Al-Hayat daily.

No decision has been made yet regarding the possibility of requiring jewelry shops to hire female workers, Karim Al-Eneizi said.

“It’s difficult for a woman to protect a jewelry shop that is worth millions of Saudi riyals. Women’s nature does not allow them to do that,” he said.

Most women who own such shops have employed their relatives to run their businesses.

The majority of women who work for gold factories are usually hired as designers.

Ayman Al-Hafar, CEO of L’azurde Company, said he supports the idea of women working in the gold sector.

However, the current obstacles related to the work environment should be removed first before women can venture into the field, he said.

Al-Hafar said: “We will only hire women if the work environment gets improved and caters to their nature.

“Women are the best choice to deal with female customers.”

The company has more than 100 women working as gold and diamond designers, he added.

Meanwhile, 17 women have been trained by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry on how to sell gold and attract customers.

The trainees were introduced to the art of selling and the basic rules for selling gold.

They were given an English for business purposes course in addition to practical training to improve their performance.

The course focused on how to identify the purity of gold and which carat it is, how to recognize the several types of diamonds and how to deal with customers in general.

Labor Minister Adel Fakieh said last year that his ministry was looking into the possibility of feminizing jobs in a range of commercial activities.

He made the remarks following the successful placement of female workers in lingerie outlets throughout the country.

The commercial activities specifically set aside for females would be announced once studies on the subject were completed, the minister was quoted by local media as saying.

Jobs in more than 7,000 lingerie shops across the Kingdom were fully feminized by the end of 2013, according to figures released by the ministry.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Feb. 27, 2014.