Promote gender equality and empower women
Where we are?
Remarkable progress has been achieved in the Kingdom in the status of women in education, employment, and health. Despite the relatively late start in education of girls, rates of enrolment of girls at all educational levels have increased sharply. The gross female enrolment rate at all general education stages increased from 90.5% in 2005 to 96.1% in 2010. Consequently, it was possible to bridge the gap in indicators of male/female enrolment at the primary, secondary and university stages in 2010. However, development in the net enrolment rate for male/female students at education stages is the more appropriate measure for enrolment conditions in the education system.
Between 2001 and 2010, the net enrolment rate of boys at the primary education level increased from 84% to 96.7%, compared to an increase from 82% to 96.5% for girls. These rates demonstrate success of the Kingdom's policy to achieve gender equality in education and the increased absorption capacity of all stages of education for males and females. Moreover, empowering women educationally has been accompanied by progress in enabling them to benefit from available health services, leading to tangible improvement in general health, with a declining incidence of certain diseases. As a result, life expectancy in 2010 increased to 74.9 years for females and 72.6 years for males.
Saudi women play an important role in investment and business administration in various economic activities. The number of women-owned registered commercial enterprises by the end of 2010 was over 47.4 thousand, most of them small and medium-size enterprises, with around 66.2% engaged in wholesale and retail trade and construction, and the rest in industry, mining, petroleum, power generation, water extraction, agriculture, finance and business services, and miscellaneous services.
Clearly, the directions of Ninth Development Plan represents the efforts made to promote improvements in the status of women and in enabling them to participate in economic and social development. The Plan includes objectives and policies that address issues relevant to development of women’s status in various areas, such as education, health, social care and employment. In addition, the Plan included an entire chapter on women and the family, which sets specific targets to build on the progress made with respect to empowerment of women, leading to further strengthening of women’s role in family and society, as well as their contribution to economic activities.