Samar Al-Miqren, writing for the Arabic daily Al-Jazirah, says she doesn’t see the big deal about Saudi women working as cleaners. They’ve been doing it a long time. Now, she asks that they be formally given a chance to expand their work into hotels, airports, and the like. In the process, they’d be helping to shed thousands of foreign workers from the Saudi economy.
The move would be necessarily more expensive, of course. They would need separate facilities as well as additional security. But because there are women willing to take the jobs, they should receive government support for filling them. Working even in menial labor is better than the alternatives of begging, or worse.
Saudi women cleaners: What is the harm?
Al-Watan newspaper recently published a report under the headline “Saudi women break the disgrace barrier and work as cleaners”. I found it to be a well-balanced report that made an interesting read. However, many people who read it wrongly thought this is the first time Saudi women are taking up this honorable job.
Throughout elementary school and up until high school, I still remember how the majority of cleaners were Saudi women and they used to perform their duties diligently. So, there is really nothing new in the report except that Saudi women can now branch out and work as cleaners in tourist resorts, hotels and other places.
I think it is imperative that we expand work opportunities for uneducated women who are in need of jobs because, after all, hard work is much better than begging at traffic lights or hawking goods on streets where women can be subjected to all kinds of harassment.
I earnestly hope that people who oppose women’s employment will openly come out and object to women begging and selling goods on the streets.