Saudi women’s employment: Hot debate expected at next dialogue forum


“Participation in the forum will be open to everyone without exception and that includes those who oppose women working,” he said, adding, “Presenting different opinions is healthy in any dialogue. Discussions will include all areas related to labor and employment.”


Speaking to journalists here yesterday, Ibn Muammar mentioned that for the first time ever the center would invite representatives of the Human Rights Association to listen to complaints relating to labor issues from citizens. “In addition, an invitation will be sent to all institutions which are connected with labor. Representatives from several chambers of commerce and industry will also be there,” he said.


The seventh National Forum for Dialogue, entitled “Labor and Employment Sectors: A Dialogue Between Society and Labor Institutions,” is scheduled to take place in December.


Ibn Muammar strongly denied that the recommendations of the six previous forums have been ignored. “The recommendations of the previous forums have not been tucked away in some drawer. … They have been transferred to concerned authorities…,” he said, adding that it was up to the respective bodies to decide and take the appropriate action.


Commenting on the mechanisms in which the center decided the topic for the next forum, Ibn Muammar said that it was done by electronic balloting on the center’s website. “The topic which received the majority of votes was selected,” he said, adding that the seventh forum was no less important than the previous one about education since it would discuss employment.


Ibn Muammar said four preparatory meetings would be held in different regions of the Kingdom to gather as many different opinions as possible.


The first meeting will be held in Dhahran on May 22-25. Participants will discuss rules and regulations relating to labor and employment, areas of women employment (the reality and ways for development), the culture of work and its effect on people, the role of the private sector, and the negative effects joblessness has on society in terms of social and economic security and stability.


The second preparatory meeting will be held in Abha on Sept. 9-11, the the third in Jeddah on Oct. 29-30 and the last in Riyadh on Nov. 19-20.


Ibn Muammar said men and women would have equal representation — 35 participants from each side — at the seventh forum. “They will represent diverse regions of the Kingdom,” he said.

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