With hundreds of thousands of Saudi women joining the kingdom’s workforce, it’s no surprise that they are entering male dominated industries.
Most recently, there was much speculation after two young Saudi women were spotted working at an automobile spare parts shop in Jeddah, as locals wondered whether a job like this was fit for females. The women were identified as Ayesha Al Mutairi and Fawzia Al Ghamdi, by Okaz newspaper, and it was reported that they took up the job together doing 8 hour shifts at the store.
44 Saihat women trained in car inspection, maintenance, as reported by Saudi Gazette
Both Al Mutairi and Al Ghamdi told the newspaper that they took the positions because it allowed them to form a good understanding about the business and gain experience for progression in the future. The news of these women follows Saudi’s decision to launch training programs for women who are interested in car maintenance and inspection. In 2018, the kingdom’s government also established vehicle maintenance centers where female mechanics would aid new female drivers.
Under Crown Prince Mohamed Bin Salman’s Vision 2030, Saudi women have been welcomed into a variety of industries and are taking up roles previously reserved for men, including jobs as taxi drivers and mechanics. With the plan working to encourage more women to take up employment, Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports recently announced that it would be soon recruiting women to take up careers within airports and land border crossings – and though only 140 vacancies within these positions, over 105,000 women sent in an application.
2018 was full of exultant career-focused news for women as it saw the Director General of Traffic announcing that women would soon be employed in traffic police positions, the kingdom boosting employment rates by limiting women’s clothing store roles for Saudi nationals only, Saudi Arabia's General Authority for Civil Aviation issuing local pilot licenses to five Saudi women, and the Gulf state's Air Navigation Services Company (SANS) employing women as air traffic controllers for the first time.