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Based on the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 and its Programs, the Government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pays great attention to the women’s issue. Therefore, the relevant authorities, including the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development “MHRSD”, pay a great attention by allocating one of the goals of Vision 2030 to ensure increasing the women’s participation in the labor market. Based on the foregoing, Saudi women’s steps towards empowerment have accelerated due to the issuance of many decisions, legislation and regulations that enhance her position in society. Thus, the woman has become an effective partner in national development in all fields: economic, social, scientific, cultural, etc., and at all levels.
The most prominent efforts of MHRSD to empower woman in labor market are represented as follows:
- Initiative for Empowering Woman in Civil Service and Enhancing her Leadership Role:
This initiative contributes to increasing the woman’s participation rate in all government sectors and at all functional levels. This may be achieved by investing her energies and capacities, expanding her work options and increasing her participation to ensure equal opportunities for both genders, and their access to senior structural leadership positions in government agencies through a series of supportive projects. National Platform for Saudi Women Leaders serves as a tool that enables the authorities to contact and nominate the female leaders for leadership positions, boards of directors or official delegates in international forums based on smart search criteria. The number of registered female members on the Platform, who has 8+ years of experience, reaches (7000) registered members.
Further, Project for Balance between Genders on Civil Service aims to focus on three pillars: Provision of an Enabling Environment, Corporate Level, Social/Individual Level. The enabling environment, regulatory and statutory frameworks, policies and regulations have been analyzed to define gaps that limit equal opportunity between genders, assess the training needs and recommend for human resources practices and procedures that achieve equal opportunity between genders.
On the other hand, Project for Remote Work in Civil Service Strategy (Government Sector) is one of the initiatives of National Transformation Plan 2020. The Project aims at regulating remote work in civil service, expanding the work options for the working woman and man alike. This is achieved through identifying the jobs that may be practiced remotely, proposing what may be amended or added to the Civil Service Law and its Executive Regulations, and developing the regulatory legislation, regulations and controls.
Last, at the level of work environment, there is a need to activate drop-in centers for children at work offices in all sectors. A feasibility study has been conducted for such project to develop a work environment that attracts and motivates the working woman plus providing functional and investment opportunities for women looking for a job among the majors suitable for investment and work in such centers.
- Initiatives for Empowering Woman to access Labor Market:
Supporting Inclusion and Diversity in Labor Market:
The Initiative seeks to create a work environment at which the differences among labor classes are considered to reduce disparities in working conditions and opportunities through:
Motivation in all its forms to enhance the positive image for woman’s work in work environment.
Support creating a supportive and inclusive work environment to facilitate the woman’s access to the labor market.
Awareness of policies related to Women in the Labor Market:
The Initiative aims to review policies, update relevant regulations, and work on developing training programs aimed at empowering women to access to the labor market, and then launch supporting awareness campaigns.
Promotion of Women’s Career Development:
The Initiative contributes to identifying the possible roles of women’s career development, in addition to analyzing the feasibility and effect of tools.
Development of Legislation supporting Women’s work in Labor Market:
The Initiative aims to develop legislation, regulations and laws in order to enhancing the development of work environment and overcoming the obstacles of women’s work.
- Leadership Training and Orientation Initiative:
The Initiative aims at increasing woman involvement in medium and senior leadership position to achieve the objectives of increasing the women participation in labor market by training female cadres in different sectors, whether in public sector or private sector. The Initiative also aims to provide an ideal environment that enables women to obtain information that may enrich the knowledge of women leaders and provides them with all their needs to be a leading role model for the Country to be proud of. The nomination mechanism is carried out by employers for female cadres who have some leadership qualities. To ensure the inclusion of the largest possible number, the program allows the nomination of a maximum of two female trainees from each authority, as the target is to train 1,700 female leaders.
- Promotion of Remote Work Initiative:
The Initiative aims to access the human resources looking for a job and working on freelancing basis among the establishments’ owners and others in various areas in the Kingdom. The Initiative also aligns with the labor market development policy through opening labor fields for male and female citizens in suitable, stable and productive works. Moreover, the Initiative seeks to develop a leading operational work model to achieve the program vision, which is represented in human resources development, increasing their productivity and expanding their options in gaining knowledge, skills, experience, providing the proper and productive job opportunities for national labor and limiting unemployment. This aims to achieve its objectives in increasing the employment rate for those looking for a job, particularly women and disabled persons in different areas in the Kingdom, which in turn contributes to achieving the Ministry’s strategic objectives.
- Promotion of Flexible Work Initiative:
The Initiative contributes to increasing job opportunities for male and female citizens, particularly those reside in less developed regions and have limited educational qualifications. Moreover, the Initiative aims to enhance the economic development and diversity of the available job opportunities that include the different segments of society by developing comprehensive flexible work laws (hourly) and motivate the employers to provide flexible work contracts (hourly).
- Qurrah - Working Women Childcare:
The Initiative aims to establish a bridge of communication between childcare centers to offer and market their services to the parents looking for centers to register their children, as well as supporting the empowerment of the working woman to join and continue in the labor market. Further, “Qurrah” is working on regulating and developing this sector through services of childcare centers, nurseries and KGs.
- Wusool - Supporting and Facilitating Transportation of Working Women:
Wusool aims to empower the working person to work in private sector and enhance her involvement in labor market by helping the female employee overcome the difficulties of transportation from and to the workplace to support her job stability.
The Program receives a financial support from Human Resources Development Fund (Hadaf) and in cooperation with the application for directing vehicles to provide a high quality and affordable transportation service.
- Employment Support Program for Upskilling:
The Fund provides support with a subsidy of 30% of the salary for the first year. The percentage is reduced to 20% for the second year and 10% for the third year. The minimum wage for the subsidy is SAR 4,000 and the maximum wage is SAR 15,000. The support offered is 70% for employment and 30% for training. The establishment is entitled to additional support in the following cases (Female employment, employment of persons with disabilities, employment in small villages and towns, employment in small and medium enterprises, and employment in critical occupations).
- Amendments to the legislation and laws with respect to women empowerment
Issuance of Resolution of Unified Regulations of Work Environment in Private Sector Establishments
Amendment to Article 186 of Labor Law (Work in Mine or Quarry)
All citizens are equal in the right to work without discrimination.
Indicators for Empowering Woman in Labor Market:
The economic participation rate for Saudi females age 15 years and over reached 35.6% the 2022, while the rate of women’s participation in the labor market nearly doubled from 33.7%, exceeding the Vision 2030 target to reach 30%. The percentage of women in middle and senior management positions reached 30% in the public and private sectors during the past year 2021. Further, key indicators also show an increase in the percentage of Saudi women in the civil service to 39.6 by the end of 2021.
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