A few years ago the idea of employing Saudi women as housemaids under certain conditions conforming to the customs and traditions of Saudi women was discussed. Some people welcomed the idea while others rejected it on the ground that employing Saudi women as housemaids was an alien concept to the Saudi society and its traditions.
In my opinion, the idea is sound. It can be easily implemented, provided that it is based on a mechanism that would ensure that woman are entrusted with a task that is most suitable to her and she works with a family she trusts.
I still remember in days gone by when young Saudi men and women used to work as household help. They were not ashamed of their work and which did not result in any serious problems.
This program is more needed today to meet the rising demand for housemaids. There is an acute shortage of housemaids caused by recruitment offices that are prolonging the recruitment process and increasing their fees.
Most Saudi families, in dire need of housemaids, are obliged to employ housemaids without identity papers or employ runaway maids escaping from real sponsors at high salaries, which often shoot up during Ramadan and the Eid periods.
Understanding this and opening up this segment of the labour market for interested Saudi women under a system to be drafted by the concerned government department that would ensure the rights of the two parties, is a welcome step. It would be beneficial to Saudi families and will help reduce the rising problems caused by foreign housemaids. The program will also end employing illegal expatriate housemaids with no residency permits. The most important aspect would be that it will provide work opportunities for many needy Saudi women.
This article was originally written by Ali Khadran Al-Qerni for Saudi Gazette