According to a report released by the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority – also known as Monsha’at – the total female workforce participation in Saudi Arabia rose to 33.6% in the first quarter of 2022.
Back in 2019, when most countries globally saw a decline in female participation, that percentage in the same period in the Kingdom was 20.5 percent.
The female unemployment rate in the Kingdom fell to 21.2 percent in the first quarter of this year, Monsha’at revealed in the report, while during the same period in 2019 it was 31.7 percent.
The report noted that Saudi Arabia has 45 percent female leaders in the SMEs sector, signaling the Kingdom’s success in filling the gender gap in the sector, adding that Monsha’at’s Women Dashboard has also played a crucial role in elevating the number of female entrepreneurs.
Monsha’at’s Women Dashboard provides female entrepreneurs with an exclusive portal for SME support services. empowering Saudi women across different industries and playing an active role in the positive workforce reforms in the Kingdom.
The report further noted that the World Bank has recognized Saudi Arabia, whose score of 80 far exceeds the Middle East and North Africa average of 51.5, as a top performer in regulations governing women’s rights in business.
Monsha’at said in the report that the major beneficiary of the influx of dynamic female workers has been Saudi Arabia’s private sector with many women entrepreneurs grabbing new and emerging opportunities in the health, wholesale and retail, accommodation and food, and professional support service industries.
The additional factors that influenced the rise in female entrepreneurship and workforce in the Kingdom include the regulatory reforms focused on empowering women in the workplace.
There are also women entrepreneurs’ programs providing access to credit and financing, like “She’s Next,” and the Wusool Program which provides 80% subsidies for transportation costs between workplace and home.