Over the last five years, the number of women with jobs has almost doubled in Saudi Arabia. When companies worldwide witnessed female participation in the workforce plummeting, Saudi Arabia’s female workforce participation soared over 33% in Q1 2022. The participation was reportedly around 20% in 2019.
The Monsha’at report by the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority revealed that the Kingdom has successfully bridged the gender gap in the SME space with 45% female leaders in the sector.
While the female unemployment rate in the region was 31.7% in Q1 2019, it dropped to 21.2% in Q1 2022. The report owed the rise of female leadership and workforce to various women-friendly reforms in the Kingdom.
According to Monsha’at, some reforms included She’s Next—which provides credit and financing to female entrepreneurs—and Wusool Program—which provides 80% subsidies for transportation costs between the workplace and home.
“Saudi Arabia’s private sector has been a major beneficiary of the influx of dynamic female workers, with many female entrepreneurs grabbing new and emerging opportunities in the accommodation and food, wholesale and retail, health, and professional support service industries,” the report said.
“The World Bank has recognized Saudi Arabia as a top performer in regulations governing women’s rights in business. Saudi Arabia’s score of 80 far exceeds the Middle East and North Africa average of 51.5,” the report added.
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