http://www.arabnews.com/?page=13&section=0&article=113762&d=2&m=11&y=2008&pix=kingdom.jpg&category=Local
 Press

            Sunday 2 November 2008 (05 Dhul Qa`dah 1429) 


     

      Unemployment among women: A silent movie
      Khalaf Al-Harbi | Okaz 
        
      When a society is experiencing unemployment among men, the last thing 
people may want to discuss is the lack of job opportunities for women. 
Therefore, the postponement of serious debate about women's unemployment is the 
best option both for society and the media. We usually close discussions on a 
subject in two ways: One of them is nice and that is when we say this issue is 
"premature" and the other is not so pleasant and that is when we say, "This is 
a true statement made with malice."

      One of my colleagues recently sent me two sets of statistics: One of them 
regarding the number of women who applied for jobs in education and the other 
about the lucky ones who actually got jobs. A simple calculation showed me that 
the women who actually got jobs were only 6 percent of the total number of 
applicants. When we take into consideration that the educational sector is the 
largest employer of women, we realize the magnitude of the problem. In this 
case we do not need any statistics to know the seriousness of the issue. As a 
matter of fact, most educated women in our country are unemployed.

      The dreams of these women are shattered without anybody taking notice. 
The girl who traveled across a difficult terrain from her village to the 
university woke up to the reality that that road would not take her to 
employment. Another girl who wore out her father with routine procedures and 
red tape finally realized that she would never be able to help her father who 
was pinning such high hopes on her. The wife who was waiting for a job in order 
to help her husband meet the soaring household expenses has succumbed to a 
bitter and cold reality.

      The sadness engulfing unemployed women is devastating. They are now 
confined to the silence of their houses. They are living with broken dreams and 
fading away without being noticed. An unemployed man may fight against his 
frustrations by going out, looking for a temporary job to help him face his 
troubles but an unemployed woman can do nothing except wait and wait until she 
has reached a point of despair and stagnation. She has nothing to do except 
watch dubbed Turkish soap operas on television. If some men go astray because 
of unemployment, leisure and bad economic conditions, women may do the same.

      The state has spent billions of riyals on girls' education but not 
finding jobs for women graduates will transform these billions into a wasted 
and useless investment
     

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