Majority of Saudi wealth in hands of women at $11.9b

03 Aug 2010

(MENAFN) A report issued by asset management firm Al-Masah Capital, said that a large portion of the Kingdom?s wealth is in the hands of its women who are believed to be sitting on cash totaling $11.9 billion, Arab News reported.

The report said that women constitute almost 45 percent of the country?s population, and have a literacy rate of 79 percent. Yet, only 65 percent of them are employed, revealing the huge potential for women employment. In fact 78.3 percent of unemployed women are university graduates.

The report, titled ?The Saudi Woman, A catalyst for change,? stated that women could become a major growth driver for the country?s diversification policy with their considerable wealth, which is lying idle, being channeled into the country?s money supply.

Saudi women are not alone. Women in the Middle East controlled 22 percent or $0.7 trillion of the region?s total assets under management (AUM) in 2009. The region, consequently, ranked fifth globally in terms of AUM controlled by women.

Saudi Arabia also had the lowest national women labor participation rate, which was put at 20.1 percent in 2009 compared to neighboring countries like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

Toward that end, establishing a just workplace for both men and women can generate significant economic value. Greater educational support for women to take up jobs in IT and communications can increase the government?s return on investments in the country?s education system.

While the government was the largest employer of women in the country, their exposure to the private sector was minimal accounting for a mere 0.8 percent of total private sector employees.

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