Manama: In a new development that reflects Saudi Arabia’s drive to empower women, 41 Saudi women have taken up hospitality jobs in Makkah hotels.
The women are holding positions in human resources departments, reservations, reception, and cooking.
“We are determined to be more professional and learn everything new in the hotel world,” Sarrah Najjar, a receptionist, said.
“It is a pleasure and a passion to learn about many international cultures by dealing with visitors and pilgrims from different nationalities and countries,” she said, quoted by Saudi news site Al Marsad on Tuesday.
Abeer Al Harbi whose new job is to process and prepare food said that she was happy with her responsibilities.
“The environment is appropriate and is characterised by a lot of privacy, which gives me a greater motivation to hone my skills and boost my productivity,” she said.
For Afaf Abdullah, medical insurance coordinator, the premise, privacy, professional development and training she and the new female staff are receiving is “helping them to do their job well.”
Receptionist Reem Bakatian said that she was pleased with her new career and confident about the future.
“My career path and promotions are clear so we are working very hard and exerting efforts to develop our abilities and increase our knowledge about everything new,” she said. “Opportunities become available to us as women when we are armed with knowledge and determination.”
As an employee tasked with responding to phone calls, Ara Bukhari said that she was overwhelmed by the congratulations and good wishes offered by clients upon learning that their calls were answered by Saudi women.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing massive social changes as part of an ambitious drive led by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud towards a more prosperous future that includes overhauling attitudes, shunning regressive practices and empowering women politically, economically and socially.
The developments are being applauded locally, regionally and internationally as huge positive steps forward despite expected some resistance from conservative segments.