Employment gap between men and women in govt jobs drops to 37.8%


Saudi Gazette report

The percentage of the Saudi women holding government jobs has risen from 39 percent to 40.3 percent during two years, according to Hind Bint Khaled Al-Zahid, undersecretary of the Ministry of Civil Service for the empowerment of women.

She told the London-based Asharq-Al-Awsat newspaper in an interview that the employment gap between men and women has come down to 37.8 from 50.3 percent until the second quarter of the current year.

She said the ministry, the government employment arm, has achieved great strides in the empowerment of women reinforcing their leading roles in the public sector.

Zahid said the executive chart of human resources which entered the execution phase in May, included the issue of the part time employment. "This gave more flexibility for employment as two women can now take the same job," she said.

Zahid said since the agency was launched in April and her appointment as undersecretary in May, work has been continuing through cooperation with all the concerned parties to remove all the hurdles impeding the empowerment of women.

"This has been made through a strategy for the women empowerment and the consolidation of their leading jobs in the government," she said, adding, this was achieved via the establishment of a special agency for the women empowerment under the initiative of the ministry.

Zahid said the agency is concerned with increasing the participation of women at all levels in all the government sectors.

She said the agency is also concerned with qualifying and supporting the women to hold leading government positions, investing their energies and capabilities, widening their working opportunities and reinforcing their contribution in the process of development and in making the changes required by the Kingdom's Vision 2030.

About women assuming leading government positions, Zahid said the execution of the initiative is done on three tracks consisting of upgrading the legislative and regulatory directory to achieve gender balance, providing women with extensive training and the launching of computer programs for the women leaders.

She said in the past, the public sector suffered from the lack of attention needed for investing in the human capital as well as qualifying, rehabilitation and development of both the male and female employees.

Zahid said the ministry has started updating its rules and regulations and allowed the ministries and departments to manage their own departments of human resources.

Zahid said the ministry is now working on a number of strategic projects aimed at achieving women empowerment including a project named: "Enabling the female leaders and increasing their representation in the decision-making circles".

She explained that the project is aimed at formulating a strategy to empower women through granting them leading roles in the implementation of the development plans of the government.

She also said there is another project to "achieve the gender balance in the civil service" aimed at reducing the gap between the men and women in the government jobs.

Zahid said work is currently continuing on a "distant work strategy" to achieve integration between the men and women employees to build a vital society which is capable of keeping pace with the surrounding challenges.

"The woman's role as a partner in development has become pivotal in making the big change in the government work which was translated into the "National Transformation Program and Vision 2030".

She said the ministry is making strenuous efforts to achieve empowerment of women and revealed that the ratio of women in civil service has gone up from 39 percent to 40.3 percent in just over two years.

She said the gap between men and women in government jobs has decreased to 37.8 percent from 50.3 percent. "If we continue the empowerment of the women at this rate we will be the leaders of this issue at the level of the region and the area," she added.

Zahid said the achievements on the road towards woman empowerment were made possible by amending the Statute of the Human Resources making it possible for women to take part-time jobs.

She said maternity leave was made 70 days with full pay to be distributed according to the woman's needs.

She said a conducive atmosphere for women to work has been created at the government offices to enable them contribute in the process of development and nation-building.

"We are deliberating many ideas to upgrade the work environment for women including, among others, the establishment of nurseries at the public utilities," she said.