In Saudi Arabia, 30 women are wanted for the post of train drivers. The benefit is high: more than 28,000 women applied for the job within a month.
Saudi women have recently been allowed to work as train drivers. The Spanish railway company Renfe, responsible for the express line between Mecca and Medina, has opened vacancies. The road between the two cities stretches for more than 450 kilometers.
To determine if an applicant is suitable, education level and knowledge of the English language are taken into account. Women between the ages of 22 and 30 can apply. Those who pass the selection procedure receive approximately one year of training.
The employment rate of women in the royal family has traditionally been low due to restrictive Islamic religious rules. Women currently make up 33 percent of the workforce and often work in education or health care. In recent years, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been trying to get more women into work to stimulate the economy.
The relaxation of the strict rules fits with the crown prince’s strategy for social reform. He previously ended the unofficial ban on women driving. However, the activists who fought for this right remained in prison. Several years ago, it was no longer compulsory for a woman to go out with a man.
Despite the relaxation, there are still many restrictions for women. For example, they need permission from a male relative to marry. Activists who demonstrate “too aggressively” for women’s rights also face imprisonment.
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