Boost the workforce

Saudi officials to open up some jobs to women — as long as they wear ‘the lawful attire’

Saudi women talk during the first annual Bab Rizq Jameel, a three-day job opportunity fair for Saudi youth on December 8, 2015 in Riyadh , Saudi Arabia. (Photo by Jordan Pix/ Getty Images)

According to Saudi newspapers, government officials have announced that women will be allowed to work as paramedics and opticians, in part of an attempt to relax the labor codes and bring more women into the workforce. In the ultra-conservative kingdom, women are prohibited from driving and banned from taking part in many professions. “It’s fine (for a woman) to work as a paramedic, provided she’s decent and in the lawful attire,” Saudi cleric Sheikh Abdullah al-Manea told the Okaz daily, while a senior health official, Mohammad Bajbair, told the Saudi Gazette that women would be allowed to work as opticians as long as they do not work with men. “If a complaint is received by the health affairs department about the mixed environment then the shop might be closed down.” As Saudi Arabia is trying to become less dependent on oil and open up more jobs to its citizens, the government is seeking to open up employment options for its women. The government previously announced it would spend some 2.78 billion riyals ($741.19 million) to improve transport options for working women.

Read the full story at Reuters.

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