Call for women-only industrial areas in Saudi Arabia

Tuesday, 29 July 2008, 07:00 Hrs
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Dubai: A leading Saudi Arabian businessman and member of the country's Shura Council has called for the creation of women-only industrial zones to generate more jobs for Saudi women.

"Many Saudi women are now involved in small-scale industries," the Arab News newspaper quoted Abdul Rahman Al-Zamil as telling the Al-Madinah Arabic daily.

"Women can play a big role in light industries, such as gold, jewellery and foodstuffs," he said.

Stating that women should be given production areas within and near cities, Al-Zamil said women were usually recruited for light industries, and asked: "Why don't we develop women-only industrial zones for this purpose?"

In this connection, he cited the success of the country's experience with women-only banks.

"It created new job opportunities for Saudi women and helped them make important contributions to the banking and financial sector," Al-Zamil said.

According to him, the women-only industrial areas initiative would be crucial not only in terms of creating jobs for women but also boosting Saudi Arabia's non-oil revenues.

Al-Zamil said non-oil revenues amounted to around 122 billion Saudi riyals ($266.7 million) annually.

"The amount represents about 20 percent of the value of the total production in different sectors," he said.

Al-Zamil said the Shura Council was studying an industrial strategy presented by the ministry of commerce and industry, which it would pass shortly.

The Shura Council is an institution that allows Saudi citizens to participate directly in the country's policy administration, planning, and follow-up of the performance of different government agencies.

According to the council's website: "the Shura Council is the place to exercise the multiplicity of opinion, through practising its tasks and duties with greater openness, objectivity in debate, and aiming at the general welfare of the country and the citizen."
Source: IANS
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