THE real development challenge we are currently facing and which we will face more strongly in the future is ensuring women have access to employment opportunities.
The woman needs to work to make an income that will help her meet her own needs and those of her family. Most of the time, the woman is responsible for herself, her family, her parents, brothers and maybe even her husband.
Whoever has been following the work and occupational changes in the Kingdom during the past two decades will notice that growing numbers of Saudi women are entering the labor market.
The main reason that drives women to work is to make an income that will help them meet the living costs of their families.
However, there are many adverse social implications resulting from women going out to work. Among other things, the marriage relationship may weaken.
The husband and wife will be too busy to look after their home or children. The supervision over children will consequently be weakened. The weakness of the family will be reflected on society. Family problems will cause a lot of social, security and economic difficulties.
The Kingdom played an important role during the UN conferences held in the 1990s to formulate an agenda for our current century.
The Saudi delegation made the UN recognize women working from home as part of statistics for working women. They were subsequently removed from unemployment figures.
This was an achievement that would reduce the number of unemployed women. It considered any woman working from home to raise her children or take care of her husband or parents as a productive woman playing the same role as those who go out to work.
These women are the safety valve for the stability of the family, society and the country at large. The best example that can illustrate the significance of woman working from home is her ability to observe the behavior of her children when they come from school. She is capable of noticing any change in their behavior, such as drug abuse.
Some social studies indicate that a woman working outside her home usually has difficulty in giving her full attention to her children and husband.
They said the children of many such families went astray without the parents noticing until it was too late.
In contrast, the home-staying mother is more able to observe her children and detect any change in their behavior.
Marital relations may also be weakened as a result of the woman leaving her home every day to go to work.
In this face of these dangers, we should therefore consider giving educated women who opt to stay at home to look after their children and husbands monthly salaries or rewards. Such a step will be useful not only to the woman and society, but also to the country as a whole.