More than 682,000 Saudi women job seekers have refused to accept private sector employment offered to them by the Labor Ministry’s Hafiz unemployment assistance program, local daily Al-Madina reported on Monday.
A government report said 417,000 women preferred to have jobs in education while 265,000 of them said they would like to have government jobs.
According to the report, issued by the Central Department of Statistics and Information, the number of women jobseekers crossed the million barrier and now women account for about 77 percent of all unemployed citizens.
As many as 454,000 women were employed in the private sector under Hafiz until the end of 2013, a six fold increase over their number employed during the past 30 years that was about 55,000. According to the report, 534,000 women job seekers, representing about 49 percent, were aged 18-20 years.
It said as many as 232,000 women job seekers are holders of university degrees while 343,000 are holders of secondary school certificates.
The report said there were only 55,600 women employed by the private sector until 2010, but their number went up to 99,400 after the Labor Ministry’s Nitaqat program to improve Saudization was introduced.
“The number of women employed in the private sector increased to 215,800 in 2012 and reached 454,000 in 2013,” the report said.
The report noted that the labor law does not differentiate between men and women in terms of job rights and duties and said there were more than 25 fields that women could join including education, health and industry. According to the report, about 1.5 million Saudi men and women are currently employed by the private sector.
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