Institutional barriers to womens employment in Saudi Arabia

Alfarran, A, Pyke, J and Stanton, P 2018, 'Institutional barriers to womens employment in Saudi Arabia', Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, vol. 37, no. 7, pp. 713-727.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Institutional barriers to womens employment in Saudi Arabia
Author(s) Alfarran, A
Pyke, J
Stanton, P
Year 2018
Journal name Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Volume number 37
Issue number 7
Start page 713
End page 727
Total pages 15
Publisher Emerald Publishing Limited
Abstract Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to explore the effectiveness of the Saudi employment programme Nitaqat in addressing institutional barriers to womens employment in the Saudi private sector. The paper has a particular focus on the perspectives of unemployed women as the intended recipients of increased employment opportunities. Design/methodology/approach: This paper adopts a qualitative approach, drawing on findings from face-to-face interviews conducted with two groups of stakeholders, government officials and unemployed Saudi women. Findings: Four key findings are identified. First, the considerable cultural and regulatory barriers of a conservative society are resilient impediments to the success of Saudi employment policy. Second, discrimination against women is endemic in the Saudi society; however, it is largely unrecognised within the Saudi culture and often accepted by women themselves. Third, due to government regulations, cultural constraints and the gendered educational system, the private sector contributes to sustaining labour market segmentation through discriminatory practices. Finally, while a positive change is taking place in Saudi Arabia regarding womens employment, it is incremental and uneven. Originality/value: This paper provides new insights into the institutional barriers related to the labour force participation of Saudi women from the perspective of Saudi women themselves.
Subject Human Resources Management
Keyword(s) Institutional barriers
Nitaqat
Women agency
Womens employment
DOI - identifier 10.1108/EDI-08-2017-0159
Copyright notice © Emerald Publishing Limited
ISSN 2040-7149
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