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Saudi women now make up 35% of the workforce

President of the Saudi Human Rights Commission says Riyadh has introduced reforms to remove barriers to female employment.

Saudi women now make up 35% of the workforce
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

Saudi Arabia has been attempting to increase women’s participation in the workforce. And the good news is that the percentage of women in employment increased from 21% to 35% in just five years.

Announcing the numbers at the 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council, the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission, Hala Al-Tuwaijri, emphasized the remarkable progress the kingdom has made in empowering women, including the establishment of the Gender Balance Center in Riyadh.

“As a result of these efforts, the share of women in the labor market increased from 21.2% to 34.7%, and the rate of their economic participation jumped from 17% to 37% between 2017 and 2022,” she added.

“Over the 2017–2021 period,” she continued, “the percentage of women’s representation in the higher and middle administrative positions climbed from 28.6% to 39%.”

Meanwhile, a national strategy was also released to manage discrimination by advancing fairness in employment opportunities and treatment.

Since 2018, Saudi Arabia has allowed women to drive, live alone, work outside the home, and travel without the permission of a male guardian.

The reforms have benefited about six million Saudi women over 21.

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