In Saudi Arabia, recent changes to business regulations will now allow women to launch and register businesses by themselves. The Saudi Ministry of Commerce has simplified the procedures so that women can apply for and receive a business license and complete the registration process alone. Women will not be allowed to start businesses in some fields considered unsuitable for women, such as construction and real estate. Muhammad Atiq Al-Harby, the director general of the Ministry of Commerce, said, "For some businesses, women need the help of a man,” according to Arab News.
These changes follow a conference that addressed women’s rights and commerce issues in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this spring. The Gulf Businesswomen’s Forum was held at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry produced 11 recommendations to further protect and promote the interests and rights of women, according to Gulf News.
Women in Saudi Arabia face systematic discrimination and human rights abuses. Traditionally, women and children in a Saudi household are considered to be the “household property” of the Saudi male head of household, according to the US Department of State.
Media Resources: Arab News 7/7/2006; Gulf News 6/22/2006; US Department of State 8/2005