Arabian Headhunter: Saudi Authorities Designate Suitable Work for Women

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The Ministry of Labor of Saudi Arabia has decided to allow women to work in specifically designated work fields but only during the evening.

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The ministry has given permission to women to work in restaurants intended for family visit only, family leisure centers, as well as cashiers in shops selling women's products, the representative of the Ministry of Labor of the Kingdom, Abdel Manam al-Shahri, told the Saudi newspaper Al-Iqtisadi.

He said that the women are not allowed to have occupations in certain fields but it doesn’t mean that they cannot engage in some sort of work.

“The Ministry presumes to provide a woman with occupation which has such conditions that they are in harmony with the female nature and also that in the process her rights are protected,” al-Shahri said.

According to al-Shahri, the Ministry of Labor does not allow women to work in 21 fields, for reasons of security and the need to protect women’s health.

This prohibition extends to work fields that have increased risk, as well as working in difficult conditions such as under the ground, on construction sites, at meat processing factories, in car repair, bakeries, factories producing iron and aluminum, and other heavy industries.

Women make up 17% of the working population in Saudi Arabia. The strict laws of Sharia apply to women in the country.

According to last year’s report published by the Human Rights Watch, Saudi Arabia’s discriminatory male guardianship system remains intact despite the government’s repeated pledges to abolish it.

“Under this system, ministerial policies and practices forbid women from obtaining a passport, marrying, traveling, or accessing higher education without the approval of a male guardian, usually a husband, father, brother, or son.”

Women cannot move independently in public places without being accompanied by husband or relatives. All women remain banned from driving in Saudi Arabia.

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