This article, written by Sinem Cengiz, provides insights into the current progress of Gulf women in traditionally male-dominated sectors of the workforce. In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on integrating women into sectors that were traditionally dominated by men, such as security and diplomacy, although the exact timing of these developments varies across Gulf States. Despite the advances made, there are still barriers that impede the complete achievement of gender equality.
Efforts have been made to address the issue of unemployment among women in the Gulf region, while also aiming for greater female participation in decision-making processes. This need for action is driven by various factors, including population growth, making the involvement of women not only necessary but essential.
Gulf governments have taken significant measures to tackle these challenges and promote the inclusion of women in roles that were previously monopolized by men. Government initiatives have played a crucial role in breaking down societal and cultural barriers that have long hindered women’s progress in these fields. A notable example is King Faisal’s implementation of compulsory girls’ education in the 1960s, when girls were airlifted to schools to ensure their safety. This monumental step forward would not have been possible without the government’s support. However, changing deeply ingrained societal mindsets remains a formidable task.
Furthermore, as these countries strive for progress, their development and economic growth have outpaced the inclusion of women in key positions. Consequently, there is an urgent need for additional training programs to equip women with the necessary skills for their chosen professions. These programs will play a crucial role in preparing women for a wide range of job opportunities.