Feb 13 2009
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Saudi women graduates leave Kingdom for GCC jobs
She said the number of unemployed female Saudi graduates has been increasing every year because of a lack of opportunities for them. This explains, she said, the trend of seeking jobs in neighboring countries. Several women graduates have now taken up teaching assignments in Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, she said.
Official statistics, she said, show that 176,000 Saudi women graduates are unemployed which represents an unemployment rate of 26 percent. "Only 500,000 out of five million Saudi women have jobs. This shows that the total workforce of Saudi women in the Kingdom is only 10 percent which is the lowest in the world," Dr. Al-Khateeb said.
The statistics also show that the majority of Saudi working women are employed by the government and occupy 31.1 percent of all public sector jobs. Most of these women work in the field of education, health and social affairs, she added.
Dr. Al-Khateeb said that Saudi working women are prevented from assuming an effective role in public life by social obstacles, such as, a lack of work culture, discipline, family cooperation and transportation.
She said that there are also professional obstacles facing Saudi working women, such as, the low scientific standard of the graduates and their lack of training and experience.
To overcome these deficiencies, Dr. Al-Khateeb suggested the introduction of new specializations in higher education to meet the requirements of the labor market, as well as establishing rules to protect working women.
She said that the government has always been keen on devoting a large portion of its budget to the development of human resources which is why in the 7th Five-Year Development Plan it allocated 57.1 percent for the development of human resources. However, there is a need for more attention to be given to women because the high rate of women's unemployment will definitely affect society's growth and progress, she added.
She said the issue of women's work is receiving due attention by researchers specialized in different aspects of human sciences, such as, sociology, education and anthropology, but that there are few studies on the employment of women in the private sector.
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