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Ideation Center InsightDr. Mona AlMunajjedWomen’s Employment in Saudi ArabiaA Major Challenge Booz & Company2Contact InformationAbu Dhabi Richard ShediacPartner+971-2-699-2400richard.shediac@booz.com DubaiKarim SabbaghPartner+971-4-390-0260karim.sabbagh@booz.comRiyadhGhassan BarragePartner+966-1-211-0300ghassan.barrage@booz.comDr. Mona AlMunajjedSenior Advisor, Ideation Center+966-1-211-0300mona.almunajjed@booz.com 1Booz & CompanyEXECUTIVE SUMMARYFrom international legislative commitments to NGOs dedicated to women’s welfare, Saudi Arabia’s policies and programs are promising steps on the road to women’s full participation in its labor market. However, women still make up less than 15 percent of the national workforce; this represents an enormous source of untapped potential for the Kingdom, whose labor force currently relies heavily on expatriates. Legislative, social, educational, and occupational constraints prevent women from fully participating in the Saudi labor market. Overcoming these constraints will be essential if the Kingdom is to create a dynamic market economy. The introduction of sweeping reforms to the national educational system is a major step in preparing Saudi women for competitive jobs. Labor market reforms and labor law reforms—including legislation promoting gender equality and family-friendly mechanisms—should be seriously considered. In addition, Saudi Arabia should seek to create a supportive environment that encourages the design of programs to emphasize the positive role of Saudi women in the labor market and introduce women to senior employment positions. Booz & Company2A survey of the Saudi labor market reveals enormous potential as well as significant challenges. The Kingdom’s bold move to diversify away from a purely petroleum-based economy will require the skills, participation, and energy of its most valuable resource: its citizens. In 2007, the active workforce in Saudi Arabia comprised 8.2 million people, fewer than half of...