Saudi Arabia to employ Saudi women as maids



Wealthy Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest oil exporter, employs over 1 million maids from Asian and African countries and nannies have become the norm for even low-income families.



But frequent reports of abuse have led some Asian countries to impose stricter controls on women hired at home by recruitment agencies for work in the desert country.



Al Hayat daily quoted officials saying the labour and social affairs ministries were working on finding ‘Saudi housekeepers’ — a euphemism to avoid the usual Arabic word ‘khadima’, or servant — to help Saudi families needing domestic help.



Hiring its own women to do housework would be a major shift for conservative Saudi Arabia, where strict Islamic laws and customs restrict women’s freedom to work and even ban them from driving cars.



Egyptian officials have denied reports that Saudi Arabia wanted to hire thousands of Egyptian women to work as maids.



Al Hayat said Saudi authorities are trying to persuade Indonesia to soften a hike in a flat fee for recruiting an Indonesian woman by 500 riyals ($ 133) to 4,500 riyals.



The Indonesian move was met with indignation in the Saudi media, which said it was a unilateral move.


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