Sexual harassment main hindrance for women job seekers

Badea Abu Al-Naja; 5/1/10

Women who are forced to go out and seek jobs to sustain themselves or help their poor families might find themselves prey to all sorts of harassment. Employers, forced by Saudization rules to hire citizens, do not usually feel happy when approached by Saudis, especially women. These companies do not only offer women low wages but may also not pay them full salaries at the end of each month. The payments may also be delayed for many months. The predicament does not stop here. Some of the women job seekers or those already employed by the private sector may have to pay a heavier price if they want to be employed or continue in their jobs. Talking to Arab News about her bitter experience, Ibtissam, a young Saudi woman, said she had to seek a job because her ex-husband agreed to give her divorce only if she relinquished the alimony for their son. She said she got a job at a private sector establishment as a saleswoman. “The company gave me the mobile numbers of many customers and asked me to call and offer them our products,” she said. “A customer immediately started courting me the moment he heard me. It was as if he had never heard a female voice before. When I hung up on him I was surprised to hear my supervisor reprimanding me and telling me that I was not fit for the job.