Saudi Arabia boosts women's roles.

Saudi Arabia is considering changing some of its restrictive policies directed at limiting the participation of women in the country's economic life. The Kahleej Times (Dubai) learned recently that the Saudi government is planning to undertake a study of the role of women in the country's economy. Some of the goals expressed by Saudi Arabia's 8th Five-Year Plan (2005-2009) are to enlarge the scope of economic activities available for women, encourage the participation of women in the labor force, open more economic sectors women, and importantly, encourage women to think about science as an appropriate career. The study is being designed to provide the information to support these goals.

One of the steps being considered to realize the goals as set forth in the Plan is to take a look at current regulations and see what needs to be done to modify or eliminate them to open the economy further to women. The Plan also recognizes the need to begin to build awareness at various levels of Saudi society to accept the idea of employment for women. Government jobs for women will be explored, too, says the Times.

Other parts of the plan focus on long term policies needed to support women who want to work. The objective is to lower the...

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