Saudi Arabia is reportedly seeking to dramatically increase the percentage of women in its workforce through a new remote employment and work from home programme.
Saudi Gazette reports that the programme is expected to create 141,000 jobs opportunities and increase female representation in the workforce to 28 per cent by 2020.
Women are currently estimated to make up about 16 per cent of the country’s workforce, according to 2015 estimates.
Around 4,500 women have already enrolled in the programme through five centres in Jazan, Qassim, Hail, Madinah and Ahsa, a Ministry of Labour and Social Development source told the publication.
“The programe was created with the hope of meeting women’s needs for flexible employment options. Women face a number of social obstacles in obtaining suitable jobs and they often cannot find reliable transportation. The long work hours create difficulties for them to keep a balance between work and family,” the source was quoted as saying.
The initiative is part of the country’s National Transformation Plan 2020 and is intended to help diversify the economy.
Women in the country currently face restrictions in terms of their employment options and companies wishing to employ Saudi female staff are often required to setup segregated facilities for them.