More Saudi women in workplace
Despite reports to the contrary, many Saudi women have taken up the challenge of working in the marketplace by sticking to working hours, dealing professionally with customers and showing the necessarily skills to manage workplace issues.
There has even been a rise in sales at some malls, according to a trader.
Many women are working according to the hours required in Ramadan with shops operating two shifts, one from 9 a.m. to noon and then in the evening until 2:30 a.m.
It is exciting to see a number of retail shops in major malls staffed completely by women employees. A large number of women are working as cashiers, accountants and sales representatives in multipurpose shopping centers, and have been welcomed by women shoppers.
Many Saudi women workers are bilingual and have basic training in customer relations skills required to sell more goods and provide quality service.
Asked about the practical problems women encounter in the workplace, Fatima, a Saudi lead employee at a cosmetics shop at Al-Qasr Mall in Riyadh, said: “We are trained to handle general situations but sometimes we encounter unusual customer concerns that these girls also manage well.” For women, Saudi Arabia is safer than many other countries in the world. Community safety makes it easier for women employees to accomplish their duties. Moreover, “working in groups, with available emergency contact numbers and safe cabins for rest in some stores, provide a convenient job atmosphere,” said Fatima.
At a commercial mall, women were seen closing shutters of stores at 2.30 a.m. in keeping with Ramadan timings. Zahra and Noura, two store operators, said there was no reason women cannot close stores at these hours.
“A woman closing a store is just about a change in mindset. This is an ordinary job in today’s technological age. We have automatic electrical shutters that roll down at a click. Anybody can click a button and it should not be gender specific,” said one worker.
Mahmoud Ahmed, owner of a cosmetics store, said women employees have been good for business. “Women have proven that they can do well in their role as cashiers and sales representatives. They are doing an excellent job in cosmetics and personal clothing stores.” “Hiring women in shops specializing in selling women’s products has greatly benefited sales as well. Cosmetics sales are up this season,” he said.