Saudi women allowed to work for intelligence agency

A Saudi woman arrives at a shopping mall in Riyadh on 12 January 2013. (Photo: AFP - Fayez Nureldine)

Published Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Saudi Arabia now allows women to join the gulf nation’s intelligence agency, media reported Tuesday.

According to Gulf News, Interior Minister Mohammad Bin Nayef Bin Abdulaziz al-Saud announced the decision to allow women to work for the General Directorate of Investigation (GDI) during a career event in Ottawa, Canada.

“The focus of the Saudi women at the directorate will be on social and humanitarian issues, communicating with the families of the prisoners and detainees, preparing social studies and engaging in management work,” Mohsin al-Shiani, the head of planning at the General Directorate of Investigation, told Saudi daily al-Watan.

Applicants will be chosen primarily from Saudis having studied abroad with solid language skills, and will undergo four months of training before working for the GDI, al-Shiani said.

Earlier this month, Saudi King Abdullah appointed 30 women to the previously all-male consultative Shura Council in decrees published, marking a historic first in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

But despite token signs of advancement, women in Saudi Arabia face severe restrictions in their everyday lives. Saudi law bans females from driving or traveling without the consent of a male guardian.

A July poll showed that Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest rate of female employment in the world, with a 22-percent gap between men and women’s employment.

(Al-Akhbar)

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