Saudi Arabia announced yesterday plans to set up its first industrial city dedicated to female entrepreneurs, Arabian Business reported.
The Authority of Industrial Cities and Technological Zones, also known as Modon, said it has started planning the development of the industrial city in Hofouf city, Ahsa governorate.
In a statement published by Saudi Press Agency, it said that Prince Mansour bin Miteb bin Abdulaziz, Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs, had approved the plan. The Authority's acting director general, Saleh Al Rashid, added that it was currently working to establish a second female industrial city elsewhere in the Gulf kingdom. In June, Saudi Gazette reported that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is currently studying a proposal to set up four industrial cities in Riyadh exclusively for women.
The Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) has conducted feasibility studies on the projects and submitted them to the ministry for final approval.
The cities will be fully devoted to manufacturing consumer goods. Last month, a poll revealed that nearly two-thirds (65 per cent) of working women in Saudi Arabia were looking to achieve greater financial independence through their careers. Survey The survey conducted by YouGov and Bayt.com, found the second most-cited reason was being able to financially contribute to the household.
Among those polled aged 25 years or below, financial independence was followed by a desire to make use of educational qualifications. Saudi media reports said that an increasing number of companies in the kingdom were insisting that women must be unmarried to qualify for employment, which violates the kingdom's workforce regulations. "Some private companies are stipulating conditions such as a woman shall be recruited only if she is single or not pregnant if married," said ministry spokesman Hatab Al Anazi. "(That) is against the regulations approved by the ministry."