Last week Saudi Arabia saw the first participation of women as both candidates and electorates for the first time in its history. A milestone and a big step in the right direction for Muslim women in a country that has the most rigid laws and rules about women in public life.
In Saudi Arabia women can’t drive or be seen in public without a male guardian and still lags the majority of Middle East countries when it comes to the worst in terms of gender equality. But things are changing since the Saudi King granted women limited permissions to work.
Social Media is a Key Player
Women still make up only 16.4 percent of Saudis with jobs and account for 60.3 percent of the unemployed according to Bloomberg. But the number of women employed has increased by 48 percent since 2010. More than double the rate for men.
At the same time many more are creating at-home e-commerce businesses according to Newsweek. Instagram and Facebook are the marketplaces of choice for female digital entrepreneurs and the Saudis agree that social media is a great force for women’s economic empowerment.
– A new generation across Saudi Arabia have access to technology, and are using it to learn, engage and build enterprises, says Christopher Schroeder, a venture investor and author of Link Startup Rising.