RIYADH — Saudi Arabia is witnessing a giant leap in women empowerment, with women joining in almost all sectors of civil service and some sectors of the military service.
In the civil service, the number of working women jumped 25 times within the last 10 years, according to a report of the Family Affairs Council.
The report titled “The role of Saudi women in society and in various business and government sectors,” showed that the number of women workers in the security and military sectors reached 9,408 at the end of 2019 while 500 military jobs for women are under process at the Public Security.
The number of female employees in the civil service shot up from 21,000 in 2010 to more than 484,000 in 2019, which is approximately 25 times over the last 10 years.
The women employees in military and security sectors constitute two percent of the total female employees of the government sector. These sectors include Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of the National Guard, Presidency of General Intelligence, Presidency of State Security, Control and Investigation Authority, General Directorate of Investigation and the Public Prosecution.
Although the presence of women in the military and security sectors has been restricted mainly to jobs in administrative or technical support sections, the State has realized the importance of women’s contribution in this aspect, which opened the door to accepting women for jobs in military and security forces.
This is in line with the preparation for creating the appropriate environment to achieve the initiatives and programs of Vision 2030.
The Public Security Directorate announced in early 2018 the opening of admission and registration to fill a number of military and security jobs for women.
Procedures are also in place at the Public Security to hire 500 women for military jobs while the Ministry of Interior is expanding the scope for hiring more women in a number of sectors, including the General Directorate of Passports where the number of women staff reached more than 1500, as well as in a number of other sectors.
The number of female employees in the Ministry of Interior and its various sectors reached 6,250. There were several women officials of the Ministry of Defense who have won medals for their outstanding contributions mainly as doctors serving the armed forces during the operations of the Decisive Storm and Restoration of Hope.
151 women diplomats
The number of Saudi women working in the diplomatic sector reached 151, and there was an increase in the percentage of women joining the diplomatic jobs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, reaching 25.8 percent in 2019 from 20 percent in 2017.
The percentage of women in public jobs covered by the civil service reached more than 40 percent of the total employees of both sexes in 2019. Saudi women have also reached important decision-making positions in government institutions and universities and they occupy leadership and supervisory positions in a number of ministries and government institutions.
83% of women staff in education sector
The education sector accounts for 83 percent of all women working in the government sector, and the high percentage indicates the state’s keenness to include women in the education sector as one of the most essential sectors for social development.
The number of women working in the public education sector, covering all phases of schools, is equal to that of men in the same sector, and the percentage of female faculty members in universities is three percent.
Women are holding key positions in this sector, such as deputy minister, university president and various administrative, academic and technical positions.
13% of working women in health sector
The health sector comes next to the education sector, as 13 percent of the total number of female government workers worked in the health sector in 2018.
It is evident from the statistics that the percentage of female doctors working in the health sector increased from seven percent in 2014 to 36.3 percent in 2018, while the percentage of females in the total nursing profession reached 61.8 percent in 2018.
The percentage of female workers in allied medical groups reached 24.4 percent in 2018, while the percentage of female dentists out of the total employees was 36.4 percent in 2018, and the percentage of females out of the total number of workers in the pharmacy profession was 37 percent.
The Public Prosecution Office is currently working to recruit qualified women to serve as its members. In January 2018, it announced vacancies for women to work as members on an equal basis with men.
The report also showed that unemployment rate among women dropped to 28 percent in 2020 from 35 percent in 2012. The number of commercial registrations issued to women increased by 65 percent in 2019.
Women represent 50 percent of the Women’s Council of the Human Rights Commission while women make up 20 percent of the Shoura Council, with 30 members out of the total 150 members are women.