By Arwa Khishaimani
Jeddah — Member of the Council of Senior Scholars Sheikh Abdullah Al-Manea has recommended that women should be allowed to work as paramedics.
“It’s fine (for a woman) to work as a paramedic, provided she’s decent and in the lawful attire,” he said.
Women are already allowed to work as doctors and have volunteered as medics during Haj.
Mohammad Bajbair, head of the private health sector in Jeddah, told Saudi Gazette on Sunday that women can work in opticians’ shops as long as they do not mix with men.
“If a complaint is received by the Health Affairs Department about the mixed environment then the shop might be closed down,” he said.
Last month a source at the Ministry of Health said that the ministry has given the green light for women to work in pharmacies, herbal medicine stores and opticians’ shops inside shopping centers.
The source said the ministry will start issuing licenses to women wishing to work in pharmacies, herbal medicine stores and optical shops inside shopping centers. They will not work in these shops along side men.
The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development will be closely monitoring the work environment and its safety, said the source. There are around 13,000 women who are fully qualified to work in optical stores.
The government announced an economic reform plan in June that aims to increase the number of women as a proportion of the workforce to 28 percent from 23 percent by 2020 and to quadruple the number of women in senior civil service roles to 5 percent.
The plan said the government aims to spend SR2.78 billion ($741.19 million) to improve transport options for working women. The government’s newly refashioned sovereign wealth fund has also invested $3.5 billion in US ride-hailing service Uber, a popular tool for transportation among Saudi women.