Increasing women in the workforce is an integral part of Saudi Arabia's ambitious Vision 2030. And soon, Saudi women will begin guiding air traffic in the kingdom for the first time ever.

The Saudi Air Navigation Services (SANS) announced this week that it will begin training 80 women per year to become air traffic controllers. The first batch of applicants has already begun the process of applying to the program.

"The applicants began taking admission exams on Sunday for the Saudi Academy of Civil Aviation and will undergo a number of editorial tests," the Saudi Press Agency said, according to Arab News.

The kingdom aims to increase the number of Saudi women workers

Saudi women interested in joining the program must have a high school diploma and be between 18 and 25 years old, Reuters reported.

The initiative to employ women in the aviation sector comes as the kingdom aims to increase the presence of women in the workforce from 23 percent to 28 percent. Riyadh also aims to quadruple the number of women working in senior civil service roles, raising the amount to at least 5 percent.

Already, the kingdom has put forward policies and initiatives to reach these targets. 

Also this week, the kingdom's Ministry of Labor and Social Development announced that only Saudi women will be hired at shops selling women’s accessories as of Oct. 21. The decision should create some 80,000 jobs for Saudi women.

The kingdom also launched short technical courses teaching skills such as household electronics and computing earlier this year. Women are allowed to take the courses as well as men.

Saudi women working
Saudi women working on computers

Women are taking on leading financial and management positions

Women in the kingdom have also been taking over top financial and management posts in the past year.

Back in February, three women were appointed to major financial positions. Sarah Al-Suhaimi became the chair of the kingdom's Tadawul stock exchange. Rania Nashar took over as CEO of Samba Financial Group, one of the region's largest and highest acclaimed financial groups. Additionally, Latifa Al-Sabhan was appointed as chief financial officer of Arab National Bank, one of the top ten largest in the Middle East.

Hind Al-Zahid also made headlines in May when she was appointed as the first-ever woman be an executive director of Dammam Airport.

Sarah Al-Suhaimi
Sarah Al-Suhaimi chairs the Saudi stock exchange

The number of working Saudi women has already increased dramatically

In the past few years, Saudi Arabia has seen a significant increase in the number of women joining its workforce. 

According to figures provided by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development, the number of Saudi women working in the private sector increased by 130 percent between 2012 and 2016. 

The figures also stated that the percentage of women in the private sector's workforce increased from 12 percent to 30 percent between 2011 and 2017.