Monday, October 31, 2005

Current Labor Market Regulations for Women in Saudi Arabia: Beneficial or Detrimental? :: Arab News

Here's an advocate for women's rights to equal opportunity in the workplace who recognizes that sometimes rights hurt the ones they are intended to benefit:
One salient article in the new law caught my attention, both for its good intentions, as well as its miscalculated judgment; the one that imposes an obligation on employers to provide childcare to women once they have 50 women on their payroll. Now the intention behind such an article is fair and practical — for a well functioning child care market is indispensable if women are to combine work and family responsibilities — but unfortunately, the method by which the article is to be implemented is outdated and discriminative.

In practice, such a regulation only serves to raise the cost of women’s labor relative to that of men, and thereby is nothing more than disincentives to the private sector employer.

Allow me to explain. (
continue reading)
The author is Fatin Yousef Bundagji, director of The Women Empowerment & Research Department at The Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Bundagji recommends that government should mandate greater employee benefits for Saudi women and men.

I recommend equal benefits for Saudi women and men, but not a mandate of higher benefits. Benefit mandates lower wages; families are in a better position to decide how best to budget their income.

Further, I recommend the Saudis take a good look at the social restrictions on the kinds of jobs that women are allowed to take. Those restrictions are exceptionally narrow.

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