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In Saudi Arabia, it is not the glass ceiling that is the prime issue, it is the glass floor, according to this editorial from Arab News.
December 12, 2010 3:25 by Ben Flanagan
In the West, there is considerable debate about the “glass ceiling” faced by women in the work place. Almost all areas of employment are open to them but when it comes to the boardroom, to top management, the doors close. It is slowly changing but these jobs are still largely a male preserve.
In Saudi Arabia, it is not the glass ceiling that is the prime issue, it is the glass floor. At present, women account for just 16 percent of the work force, and the vast majority of them schools teachers. Only when women are employed in far greater numbers in ordinary jobs in administration, in IT, in businesses, banks and a host of other areas, will that glass floor be broken.
It has to go. The government is spending billions to develop women’s potential, such as the new Princess Noura bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, which will be the largest women’s university in the world. What is the point if they are going to be denied the work they seek? Neither they nor Saudi Arabia will benefit from this massive investment.
On Tuesday, in Arab News, Saudi journalist Samar Fatany called for a Ministry of Women. Other countries have such ministries. It is time for Saudi Arabia to have one as well. It would be a major tool in empowering women, ending discrimination against them and fostering not just their development but that of the country as a whole.
- Arab News
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