Saudi rights group accuses employers of sexism

It criticized companies requesting approval from the male guardians of prospective women job candidates

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The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) criticized companies requesting approval from the male guardians of prospective women job candidates, labeling the practice as sexism, Makkah daily reported.

General Secretary of NSHR Khalid al-Fakhry said: “No company, private or public, has the right to refuse prospective women employees due to their gender. The charters of the Ministry of Labor and Ministry of Civil Services do not state in any regulation that women require the approval of their guardians before they can work.”

He also added that the civil service and its departments, Human Resources Development Fund and the private sector all conform to the regulations set by the Ministry of Labor.

“Requesting a guardian’s approval as a condition for employment is considered gender discrimination. The Kingdom has signed international contracts holding it responsible for eradicating all occurrences and forms of discrimination against women.”

He also added many private companies ask for the approval because they fear being questioned by the Ministry of Labor, even though this would not happen.

“Moreover, when companies request guardian approval, it is due to the personal mindset and belief of the employer and is not backed up by the law in any way.

“Any woman who faces discrimination in any way may contact us and we will pursue her case. It is very important that women understand that they are not obliged to submit any guardian approval.”

He said he was “sad” at how women were being treated in society. “It is quite unbearable when a woman needs to prove her identity by kinship to her father, husband, or brother just to serve her own society,” said al-Fakhry.

He said humans of any gender have three basic rights, consisting of the right to work, the right to education and the right to health.

“Any attempt to obstruct women’s access to these three rights is considered gender discrimination,” said al-Fakhry.

This was originally posted on the Saudi Gazette on Dec. 23, 2014.

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