Saudi Arabia

Number Of Saudi Self-employed Women Surpasses Men

The number of Saudi self-employed women reached 1.04 million in the last quarter of 2023, making up 63.4% of the overall self-employed Saudis of 1.64 million, according to official figures.

The National Labour Observatory (NLO) in its latest report cited a 6.5% increase in the number of self-employed female Saudis in the final quarter of last year against the third quarter, reflecting their preference of self-employment compared to their male compatriots.

Overall, there was a 5.7% rise in the number of self-employed Saudis in the final quarter when their number climbed to 1.64 million against 1.55 million in the third quarter.

Riyadh topped Saudi areas in terms of self-employment with 47.5% of the overall figure while the Northern Borders came lower down the list with 15,950 citizens or 0.98%, according to the NLO, Saudi Arabia’s main source of labour market data.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has vigorously pursued a drive to empower women in different walks of life as part of massive changes in the kingdom, clearing the way for them to hold leading positions — long a male preserve. Women accounted for 37 per cent of the kingdom’s overall labour market last year, according to official figures.

In 2018, the kingdom allowed women to drive for the first time in its history, ending a decades-old ban on female driving.

In another move enhancing women’s empowerment, Saudi Arabia allowed women to travel without a male guard’s approval and to apply for a passport, easing long-time controls on them.


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