The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 has contributed to achieving many accomplishments at the international level. The most recent achievement was Saudi Arabia’s progress for the second year in a row in the “Women, Business and the Law (WBL) Report 2021”, a global measure of women legal reforms published by the World Bank Group.
Saudi Vision 2030 laid the first and solid basis for numerous reforms that paved the way for women’s participation in economic development. Since women are a major component of Saudi Arabia’s strength, they were an integral part in building Vision 2030 and achieving it through many initiatives of the National Transformation Program and the National Competitiveness Center “Tayseer”, which contributed to Saudi Arabia’s progress in WBL Report 2021, as the yearly report assesses and reports on women legal reforms in 190 countries around the globe.
On a scale of 1 to 100, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia scored 80 in WBL 2021, up from 70.6 in WBL 2020. The report placed Saudi Arabia in 2020 as the first among GCC countries and second in the Arab world. Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s 2021 achievement advanced its ranking among leading countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
Saudi Arabia’s progress comes as a result of a raft of reforms that it implemented to further expand women’s participation in economic development. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia equalized women’s access to all types of jobs in the labor market, lifted restrictions on their employment in sectors previously considered unsafe and enabled women to assume leadership positions.
The National Transformation Program, being led by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, assumed the mission of empowering women and increasing their participation in the labor market through several qualitative initiatives that contributed to the Saudi Arabia’s progress in the index of the Saudi female labor force participation rate which amounted to 31.3% in the first half of 2020, surpassing the 2020 target of 24%.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development led several qualitative initiatives that contributed to empower women, overcome obstacles they face, and enable them to obtain appropriate opportunities and contribute to the development of society and the economy.
The initiatives include providing care services for the children of Saudi female employees, which aim to provide support to help Saudi women to join the labor market while being reassured about the care provided to their children. The Female Transportation Program (Wusool) is another initiative that aims to increase the percentage of women’s participation in the labor market and enhance their job stability. The initiatives that have been provided by the ministry to empower women also include the “Promotion of Flexible Work” initiative, which aims to increase the number of female workers in accordance with flexible working hours.
There are many initiatives aimed at increasing women’s participation in the labor market, increasing their contribution to economic and social development and their participation in the labor market in various fields, in line with the goals of Saudi Arabia’s ambitious vision towards a thriving future.
As for the most prominent indicators of the National Transformation Program related to the empowerment of women, the Saudi female labor force participation rate amounted to 31.3% in Q3 of 2020, compared to 21.2 in 2017. The Saudi female unemployment rate amounted to 30.2% in Q3 of 2020, decreasing from 31.7% in Q1 of 2019. As for the economic participation index of Saudi females, the percentage in the first half of 2020 was 31.4% compared to 17% in 2017.