Author: JAMES REINLThu, 2018-03-15 03:00ID: 1521059887395050500
NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia is helping ever-more women into the workplace, with everything from college places to schemes for nurseries and transport, one of the Kingdom’s highest-ranking female officials told the UN on Wednesday.
Tamadar bint Yousef Al-Ramah, who was appointed as deputy minister of labor and social development last month, addressed the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) meeting in New York — a major annual women’s rights gathering.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia believes work is a woman’s right,” Al-Ramah told delegates. “We have put in place a program that supports the economic empowerment of women and increases her participation in the workplace.”
Women now make up 56 percent of Saudi university graduates, she said. Some 205,000 female students receive grants to study abroad each year and women are bagging more jobs in private, public and government institutions, Al-Ramah said.
The speech came as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman implements the Vision 2030 reform agenda, which aims to raised the participation of women in the Saudi workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030.
Saudi officials are also loosening social restrictions on women, who can now attend sports events and will be allowed to drive cars from June as the Kingdom embraces a more open and tolerant interpretation of Islam.
But while there have been fast-paced changes in Saudi, the situation for women in the occupied West Bank and Gaza is one of stalled progress, Al-Ramah said under the UN General Assembly hall’s domed roof.
“Palestinian women, similar to other women around the world, have the right to practice economic political and social activities, and this is impossible under the policy of blockade and colonialism practiced by Israel, the occupying power,” Al-Ramah told delegates.
The UN’s CSW gathering brings together some 6,000 envoys, campaigners, and activists for the world’s largest annual events on making life better for women and girls, particularly those in developing countries.
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