Recruitment of female drivers likely to raise status of housemaids in KSA

As the Saudi car rental companies, businesses and Saudi families are planning to hire female drivers from overseas in the wake of Saudi King Salman’s decree last week allowing the women to drive, the status of housemaids may get upgraded with their skills, many experts observed.

Bangladeshi migrant rights campaigners are eying positive sign in sending female drivers to the KSA instead of housemaids who are facing sexual harassment and other abuses in the country.

They said that the governments should groom skilled female drivers providing quality training and the send them to overseas countries.

Ovibashi Karmi Unnayan Program’ chairman Shakirul Islam said that in terms of professional categories, the jobs of drivers were better than housemaids, who were bound to stay inside the home were vulnerable to sexual harassment.

‘Jobs in the companies will be better than jobs in families in the KSA,’ he said.

WARBE Development Foundation director Jasiaya Khatoon said that as driving is a skilled profession, so female drivers would be more conscious than other domestic workers’ jobs in overcoming problems in the KSA.

She called for sending female drivers abroad by ensuring necessary protection measures for them.

Bangladeshi Ovhibashi Mohila Sramik Association director Sumaiya Islam said that the female drivers could earn better wages than the housemaids.

The government must ensure all female workers getting their right wages without facing harassment abroad, she said.

 According to Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training, the KSA is the top destination of Bangladeshi male and female workers.

Jeddah based daily Arab News quoted Alam Razak, an agent with Arafat Recruitment in Jeddah, saying that hiring of women expatriate drivers, if the regulatory provisions of the government allow, will go a long way in improving public transport and the conveyance of women and children.

He said that the recruitment agencies and business houses are waiting for the new regulations, which are to be released within a few months.

The Saudi newspaper also quoted Abdullah Elias, co-founder and chief executive of the car-booking app Careem, who said that the decision would not affect major rent-a-car companies or international companies like Careem.

He said that Careem is reported to be planning to hire 100,000 female staff to capture a new market segment in the Kingdom.

‘Another good aspect of it is that now perhaps expert women drivers from abroad can also be hired for families to pick up and drop off girls at schools and universities,’ the prominent Islamic scholar and social worker Hussain Zulkarnain said.

 Many Saudi families will hire female drivers from abroad, especially from traditional labor-exporting countries, he said.

Nora Al-Hamdan, a Saudi businesswoman, said the environment would soon become female-friendly, once women started driving. ‘While there is a long way to go, improvements are being made every day,’ she said.

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