How can the decision to allow women to drive in Saudi Arabia contribute to the flowering of the business and economy?
In the past, females have not been permitted to drive automobiles in Saudi Arabia. International critics used this as proof that the rights of women in that country were outright repressed. The law was not constituted. However, the authorities did not issue them with the driving licenses at all, which automatically became a de facto ban. The primary concern was to control the sex segregation. The women were feared to interact with male counterparts that they were unrelated. Some clericals also claimed that their brain was a quarter the size of the mens brain and their minds were majorly preoccupied with shopping decisions which were extraordinarily unrealistic and undermining (Ahmed,2008).
In September 2017, King Salem issued an order to the authorities to release female applicants with the driving licenses within 30 days. He gave in to campaigns that had been pushing for almost ten years. It was a tactical move since Saudi Arabia faced a public relations anxiety. It was a significant step for the women human rights activists; it signified that the road to the protection of women rights was finally working. The move had been anticipated after some protesting women had sat in wheelchairs on the roadside demanding their right to drive (Al-Rasheed, 2013).
Denial of the driving right limited the women access to quality healthcare. There were cases where women died because the paramedics refused to admit them into the hospital without the company of a male relative. In a university exclusive for women, a student killed giving birth because men doctors could not be allowed in the institution's health unit to help in delivering.
In the past, women could not access economic resources. The inability was propelled by denial to obtain an education. In the 1970s only three out of 10 girls went to the primary level education and only 15 girls were in a class of 100 women (Saudi Arabia, 2017). The outcome was obvious, high rate of poverty among women and high dependency on men.
A significant backwardness was in the practice of cultural norms. For instance, many women were made to believe in some myths and superstition as the cause for most of the deadly diseases. The women were mostly beaten to death to death in the name of exorcism. In some cases, the neglect of medical health care was taken over by the alternative cultural, medical care of drawing blood from a skin incision using a vacuum. The gender segregation was a risk to women health and general welfare (Craze and Huband).The cultural constraints limited female health care providers from having a significant impact in the health industry. The personnels were also restricted from practicing. Some of the women who went abroad to study come back home in Saudi Arabia and failed to secure jobs.
In the recent years, the kingdom is focused on implementing economic reforms. The country looks forward to increasing the womens labor force from 20% to 30% by the year 2030 and reduce the level of unemployment from 12.7% to 7%.The countrys ability to increase the women labor force will be influenced by the willingness of the private sector to give the expatriates position to the local qualified women which constitutes 80% of the employment (Hankisvy and Sykora).
The lift of ban will help the government in achieving the desired increase in the gross development product by the year 2030.The immediate effect will be growth in the automobile sector. It means an increase in consumption and the production and assembly of cars. There will be a trickle-down effect in the fuel Industry. The increase in the number of vehicles implies that there will increase in fuel consumption. The consumption will promote the Kingdoms primary source of revenue. There is a direct correlation between the growth of the gross domestic product of Saudi Arabia and the fuel consumption.
Freedom to drive will be a relief to the government. The government provides an income called Hafiz for the unemployed. The shelter is on people who are not actively seeking employment and a reduction in women an employment level will reduce this expenditure (Husain). The power reduces the need for the provision of government subsidies. Government subsidies are intended to be beneficial to the disadvantaged in the society. However, this is not always the case; there is inefficiency in the transfer to the intended person due to the structural incompetence and corruption within the system. The taxes would also be significantly reduced because government subsidies come with a hidden cost of high tax rates. It would even eliminate the headache of measuring the subsidy success and ensure the availability of consumer goods.
Win of the right to drive will be beneficial to most employers. It will cause both economic and noneconomic benefits.Formally; some of the companies were forced to centralize their operations in the cities to allow women to walk to work. The decentralization will reduce the opportunity costs related to the organizations and improve the strategic value of the firms. The centralization was expensive due to the high cost of licensing in the urban areas and high rates of workspace rent.
The grant of the right to drive for women in Saudi Arabia will be a significant move in the economy of the kingdom. It will let them get rid of male supervision and hence allow the men in the family to be more productive since they will not have to follow their women around (Le and Le).
Statics show that 87 % of the kingdom is forced to employ male drivers. Most of which are East Asian foreigners. Womens freedom will free a portion of the familys income which is an average of 1000 dollars per month. The revenue could be used to cover other household needs 0r improve the living condition of the household. The extra money could also be invested to improve their economic status or cover contingencies.
The move would also mean few jobs for the foreigners. Freeing of this labor force will increase the level of local employment especially for the new drivers license holders. Some commute companies such as Uber and Careem are exploiting the win of the right to drive. They are providing a platform that has flexible working hours, supplemental income and mental freedom for the women (North and Tripp).
Driving women will contribute to the growth of the economy by bringing their innovation and efficiency at the workplace. It is evident that 62% of the girls perform better than the boys in school, especially in science and mathematics. The girls population in high academic centers is 50%.The statistic does not, however, translate in the workforce. The population of females over the age of 25 working is 21% contrast to the 60% of men in the workforce. It means that there are a considerable number of unutilized skilled women in the state of Saudi Arabia (Valentino).
The women in Saudi Arabia represent a large number of human capitals. They are capable of actively driving the oil economy of the country as well as contribute to the diversification of sources of income. The contribution of women in the political arena would accelerate the intended development. Equal opportunities in the workplace would enforce a workforce of women skilled in the IT department lead to increase government profits on investments (Shariff and Issaq).
Freedom of mobility will accelerate the development of the economy and social liberalism. The liberalism will increase the economic windows and protect the women rights in the state. The women contribution to the diversification of the economy will help in the control of the climatic changes. Saudi Arabia is currently looking into alternative sources of income to control the carbon emissions within the kingdom. The country seems into using renewable resource source of energy which is an ideal area for women to engage. The young women will enjoy the status that their mothers and grandmothers did not have. As a result, there will be devolution of social expectations and norms.
The business organization should actively push for the employment of women in the Saudi Arabia workforce. They should establish self-diagnostic programs that empower women to be aggressive in achieving the required skills and technical knowledge to run managerial decision positions. The programs encourage the women to be confident and engage in decision making thus promote gender equity. The organizations are challenged to create programs that offer the women grants and loan to facilitate their entrepreneurial skills (The Middle East, Abstract, and Index).
Although gender equality might take longer to be fully exercised in Saudi Arabia, the business organizations should try and ensure that there is gender diversity in the workplace. The 2030 Vision for the Saudi Arabia economy is to provide that at least the women workforce increases. The organizations should promote fair pay to the equally qualified female as that of their male counterparts. Studies have shown that the first sex segregation, after the world that women fought against was a lesser pay with equally qualified men. The organizations should adapt HR policies that are friendly to the women such as protection from harassment and providing flexible working hours to accommodate the women.
Independent organizations should strive to create microfinance programs for the low-income earners to enable pooling of funds and in the long term to encourage them to support their income generating activities. Microfinance will contribute to the management of risk because it will give the disadvantaged women a financial security for unexpected money problems. It will translate to improved diet and better livelihood conditions. Most importantly, the organizations could push for the elimination of the Wakil requirement.
Ahmed, Q. (2008). In the land of invisible women: A female doctor's journey in the Saudi Kingdom. Naperville, IL: Sourcebooks, Inc.
Al-Rasheed, M. (2013). A most masculine state: Gender, politics and religion in Saudi Arabia. Cambridge [u.a.: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Danforth, L. M. (2016). Crossing the kingdom: Portraits of Saudi Arabia.
Haussmann, R., Tyson, L. D., Zahidi, S., & World Economic Forum. (2009). The global gender gap report 2009. Geneva, Switzerland: World Economic Forum.
Kelly, S., & Brisling, J. (2010). Women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa: Progress amid resistance. New York: Freedom House.
Larson, J. A. (2012). Driving the Saudis: A Chauffeur's Tale of the World's Richest Princesses (plus their servants, nannies, and one royal hairdresser). Riverside: Free Press.
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Sharif, M., & Issaq, L. (2017). Daring to drive: A Saudi woman's awakening.
Sharif, M., Granta Books, & Los Angeles Public Library. (2013). Daring to drive: A Saudi woman's accidental activism. Los Angeles, Calif.: Los Angeles Public Library.
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