In the past two years, Saudi Arabia has unleashed a wave of reforms aimed at improving the rights and access to work for women in the Kingdom, a move that has been seen as part of a shift inside the country to diversify its economy and reshape its culture along more secular lines. Today, its efforts have led to a significant increase in women participating in sectors that were formerly male-dominated, from notaries to the security forces to the judicial courts.
Now, more women may be once again enter another male-dominated industry, this time the Kingdom’s energy sector. According to Saudi Gazette, Abdul Rahman Abdul Karim, advisor to the Ministry of Energy for corporate affairs and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Saudi Petroleum Services Polytechnic (SPSP), spoke during the graduation ceremony of the 10th batch at SPSP, saying the board is looking into opening the field to female graduates.
Speaking on the occasion that marked the completion of studies and training to work in various fields related to energy for 328 students, Abdul Karim said that “the Board of Trustees is currently carrying out studies about opening up this area for girls.” Also at the event was Abdul Hamid Al-Rasheed, vice president of Saudi Aramco’s division of drilling and well maintenance, who explained that studies with regards to providing training for women were already underway, and training expected to start for the first batch of students in 2020.
Saudi Arabia has been working on promoting women’s economic empowerment, particularly by increasing their participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent by 2030 through strategic goals laid out in its Vision 2030 that support the economic empowerment and self-reliance of Saudi women. In line with these efforts, women across the country have been enjoying new freedoms and opportunities across the board, from now having the go ahead to start businesses without the permission of a male guardian, to taking to the roads following the rescinding of the decades-old ban on female motorists.