Times are changing in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and a recent report released by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development revealed last week that the number of Saudi female workers in the retail sector reached about 200,000, despite the difficulties facing the Saudization of the female workforce in this sector since 2011.

It is now the norm to be served by women in supermarkets and other outlets, unthinkable a few short years ago. Dr Faten Al-Sari, acting head of the women’s employment policy and programs at the Labour Ministry is quoted as saying that the ministry is trying to solve the problem of transportation facing working women as they are unable to drive, making attending work more challenging. She noted that 400 vouchers have been distributed to test the possibility of using smart technology offered by Uber and Careem car transportation companies as an interim solution. She also said the ministry hoped to increase the number of women benefiting from this new technology to 150,000 by 2020.

Many commentators believe that the challenges faced by women needing to get to essential work will hasten the end of the ban on women driving in the Kingdom.