This is undoubtedly the year of Saudi women. As the kingdom's Vision 2030 materializes day by day into reaching its deadline, women are seeing a never-before integration in governmental roles and other fields that were once strictly dominated by men. The most recent sector to welcome women is traffic policing and inspection.
The kingdom's first-ever female traffic collision inspector took on her new role at Najm for Insurance Services last week, and was assigned to traffic collisions occurring on Riyadh's major roads including Khalid bin Al Waleed Road and other areas surrounding King Khalid International Airport.
She is now making history, working alongside a team of male inspectors at the company.
The hiring of Najm's first official female inspector proves the organization's commitment to the empowerment of women. In 2018, the company rolled out an intensive training program in traffic inspection for a group of women who graduated that same year. The women are expected to take on roles in the next few months in traffic collision inspection, report writing, and verification of documents of parties involved in accidents.
In a statement on the most recent hiring, the organization's CEO, Mohammad Al-Suliman, said the women's appointment "highlighted the confidence Najm has in its female employees who he described as highly qualified and skilled." He also stressed that the company is dedicated to supporting women in line with the kingdom's Vision 2030. One of the ambitious blueprint's goals is to increase the percentage of women in the kingdom's workforce.
News of the hiring of a female traffic inspector comes just a week after 50 women were appointed as public prosecutor investigators for the first time in the country's history. It also comes at a time when Saudi Arabia is recording an unprecedented rise in the number of women joining its workforce.
Data released by Pew Research Center revealed that Saudi Arabia experienced the highest growth rate among G20 countries of women joining the workforce in the past 20 years.
According to Nawal Abdullah Al-Thabian, a top official at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, around 600,000 Saudi women have recently entered the country's job market. The official added that the ministry recently initiated 68 schemes to facilitate employment opportunities for Saudi women.
Launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the ever-transforming blueprint aims at diversifying the economy beyond oil and increasing the percentage of Saudi women in the workforce.
With more women hired than ever before, Saudi Arabia's unemployment rate for females has significantly dropped. During the third quarter of 2018, the rates went down to 30.9 percent among Saudi women from 31.1 percent in the second quarter of 2018.