Saudi students' perceptions of women's participation in the labour market

Muhammad Ilyas, Mohammed Ishaq, Asifa Maaria Hussain

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Abstract

Drawing on access to final year students in Saudi universities, this research explores students' perceptions of women's participation in the labour market. A questionnaire was deployed to garner the views of students across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia using non-probability purposive sampling. Although the questions were closed-ended, the questionnaire design provided opportunities for respondents to explain their selected responses, thereby allowing some qualitative data to be collected. The findings reveal support for women's participation in the labour market among female students but opposition from the majority of male students. There is an awareness among respondents that women's education and skills are underutilised and they lack opportunities in the labour market due to structural and cultural barriers that limit their agency. Both male and female respondents perceive that women can make a productive contribution to the labour market and are optimistic about future opportunities in the light of recent reforms. The findings are not necessarily transferable to other MENA countries given the unique context of Saudi Arabia, and respondents' views may not necessarily be representative of general Saudi society or of the employed and unemployed. This research has been carried out against the backdrop of major reforms, so it is relevant and timely. Data collected from Saudi students provides valuable insights into perceptions on the issue of women's participation in the labour market among the future pool of human resources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6-37
Number of pages32
JournalInternational Journal of Employment Studies
Volume29
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • discrimination in employment
  • social constructionism
  • patriarchy
  • culture
  • research-evaluation
  • social participation-women

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