Saudi Arabia like any other State in the world experience peculiar challenges. In particular, there are some unique business challenges affecting the Saudi Arabia investors both locally and internationally. One of the most striking challenges is how to achieve the modernity as the world is moving very fast without losing its national heritage, culture, and faith. For example, women entrepreneurs are facing unique challenge in the investment space in Saudi Arabia due to the faith and culture practiced in the region. The women challenges need to be addressed so as to encourage women entrepreneurs locally and internationally to invest in Saudi Arabia and compete with the male investors on a fair ground.
Haifa Fallatah (2012) noted that historically, before the oil discovery, women used to work in farms, sawing clothes and participated in various other economic activities. Soon after the oil discovery, the place of women took a different turn with drastic decline in the number of women in gainful employment. Women became increasingly dependent on men and hence, there entrepreneurial activities, as well as participation in economic activities declined. Such has not changed greatly up to today. Due to this, the number of Saudi Arabia women in the private sector is a staggering seven percent. It clearly shows that there have been unfavorable connections that discouraged women from getting into the private business. Such does not only affect the locals, but also affects any other women with the intention to invest in Saudi Arabia.
The government has noted this situation and has employed some programs to assist women. For example, the King Abdul Aziz Women’s Charity Association Al-Barakah Loans centres supports low-income, windowed and divorced Saudi Arabian women. Other key players include NGOs who try to help the women establish their businesses. However, this does not change the business environment in favor of a fair trading ground. In this respect, the males dominate in most of the business due the strict culture, laws, and faith. In Europe, there are up to ten million Women entrepreneurs who have created up to fifteen million jobs while in the USA, there are about 6.4 million female entrepreneurs who have created up to 9.2 million jobs. It is therefore evident that women entrepreneur services play a critical role in the economy of a country. Currently, the disparity between the rich and the poor Saudi Arabians has been a major concern. The poor needs a stake in the wealth of the country. Changing the business environment to favor women can change this situation. Such can happen by many women entrepreneurs offering jobs to the poor and consequently helping to reduce the gap between the poor and the rich.
How can this be changed? The laws, for example the demand to appoint a male representative in registration for a commercial business license is prohibitive for women and ought to be changed. Why do women have a different business list from that of men? Why do men refuse to be served by women in the 21st century? Is this not discrimination? Suppose a woman has booming business than the competing males, is she not going to be sabotaged from cultural values due to jealousy? It is possible for women to participate in business without violating Islamic laws and the cultural values. Therefore, to remain relevant in the current world, measures need to be taken to allow women to participate in business at equal level as men. It begins with changing our attitudes towards women and enacting laws that promote equity. I would carry out research on this matter and help the government make an informed decision. I can also post on blogs on the importance of allowing women to participate in business.
Haifa Fallatah (2012). Women Entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia: Investigating strategies used by successful Saudi women entrepreneurs. Lincoln University. Retrieved on November 10, 2014 from https://researcharchive.lincoln.ac.nz/bitstream/10182/4795/3/Fallatah_mcm.pdf