RIYADH: Saudi Arabia was the top reformer and improver among 190 economies in the World Bank’s Women, Business and the Law 2021 report, achieving a score of 80 out of 100, ahead of last year’s 70.6 rankings.
The report places the Kingdom first among leading countries in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA).
Saudi Arabia will achieve further progress in women employment, World Bank’s Regional Director for GCC, Issam Abu Sulaiman, told Al Arabiya on Wednesday.
“The Kingdom is continuing its bold women-related legislative reforms despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which will be reflected positively in achieving the Vision 2030 goals,” he said.
Abu Sulaiman said that the Kingdom has adopted a package of legislative reforms that has significantly transformed the lives of women, most notably lifting restrictions on their work in industrial sectors and in night jobs, such as nursing.
These steps contributed to Saudi Arabia’s progress from the 70th to the 80th place in the global index in the space of a year. The Kingdom also increased the number of women-owned companies by 60 percent in the past two years.
Abu Sulaiman said that he hoped Gulf countries will follow the Kingdom’s efforts in this regard, adding that women’s participation in the labor market in Saudi Arabia increased from 22 percent to nearly 30 percent.
According to the World Bank report, this achievement confirms the strength and continuing momentum of legislative reforms in women’s regulations, as the Kingdom has achieved gender equality in all areas of employment to cater to the needs of the labor market.
Saudi Arabia has achieved a full score of 100 in five key indicators out of eight measured by the report: Women’s mobility, pension, entrepreneurship, work environment and salary, while maintaining its score in the other three indicators: Marriage, childcare, assets and property.
The Kingdom’s new global standing places it among developed economies with historical depth in implementing reforms and regulations related to women.