Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Here’s what happened when Saudi Arabia announced 140 new jobs for women

A group of Saudi women look at photographs by a group of Saudi women photographers during the opening of their gallery in Amman April 8, 2009.   REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed (JORDAN SOCIETY)

107,000 women sent in their applications for 140 jobs at airports and border crossings. Image: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed

Casey Quackenbush
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Saudi Arabia

For the first time, the Saudi General Directorate of Passports posted job listings for women — 140 of them at airports and border crossings. The agency said Thursday it received 107,000 applications from Saudi women in just one week, CNN Money reports.

The flood of applications for job listings that drew more than 600,000 views suggests that women in the kingdom are eager to get to work. The jobs require applicants to be born and raised in Saudi Arabia, between the ages of 25 and 35, and hold a high school diploma or valid equivalent.

Recruiting women into the work force is an important element of Saudi Arabia’s economic reform, known as Vision 2030. Saudi’s young crown prince Mohammad bin Salman has championed the overhaul in an effort to increase foreign investment and sell off part of the kingdom’s oil company. Last year, the government removed a ban on women driving. The reforms aim to increase women in the workforce from 23% to 30%.

However, many barriers remain. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, Saudi Arabia is one of the worst countries in the world in terms of gender inequality. In order to start a business, a woman must get two men to attest to her character to receive a loan or license.

Last year, King Salman ordered a review of laws that bar women from traveling alone, working, receiving certain medical treatments and needing male permission to attend school.

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