A Saudi Arabian textile factory opening this June will exclusively be run by female staff, it has been reported.
The Riyadh-based facility, which will make men's military uniforms, will employ 180-190 women in positions running from directors to shop-floor staff, Arabic-language daily Al Watan reported.
According to the report, several women have already applied to work at the factory and are currently attending training courses.
“The number of employees will range between 180 and 190 women, with a basic salary of up to SAR4,700 (US$1,253) per month, and an additional amount of SR300 (US$80) to SR600 (US$160) per month for transportation expenses, in addition to medical insurance for herself and her family,” Amal Al-Awad, the supervisor in the designing phase of the factory, told the paper.
In order to attract staff, the factory will include a nursery on its grounds, providing supervised childcare for a nominal fee. It will also give bonuses to employees who excel in their role.
Another senior figure in Saudi's labour industry has said that the initiative could kick-start additional examples of female-run operations.
Dr Ali Al-Ghafis, the director of Saudi Arabia’s General Foundation for Technical and Vocational Training, told the newspaper that the factory “will be just the start of similar projects in the near future".
“Such projects will attract women to work, who will play a major role in boosting the economy of the Kingdom. Women will become financially independent, in supporting families in need of a steady income,” he added.
Saudi Arabia, the most populous nation in the GCC, is one of the few countries in the world where strict gender segregation is still largely enforced.
While Saudi women are permitted to work in some cases, social convention prevents them from driving cars and forbids them from associating with unrelated males and taking part in a large array of other social activities.