SIDF chief stresses importance of increasing women’s labor market roles
The CEO of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund expects an increase in the number of women occupying leadership positions in the fund.
In an interview with Arab News, Ibrahim Almojel stressed the importance of policymakers, government organizations and enterprises creating environments that contribute to empowering women.
“Improving the status of women in the labor market is an economic and social necessity, and the Kingdom cannot achieve its comprehensive goals for economic and social transformation unless it invests in the capabilities of all segments of society,” he said.
“One of the most important strategies of the SIDF is to raise the skills of female employees in order to enable them to assume leadership positions in the fund in particular and the industrial sectors in general. In this regard the fund was keen at the same time to increase the women’s participation in its workforce and to reduce the gender wage gap,” he added.
“Women leaders in the SIDF benefited from an internal training program and a (Unique Women Leadership) program implemented by the Women’s Leadership Center at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University,” Almojel said.
The SIDF Academy, in partnership with Stanford University and its Center for Professional Development, offers a four-week training program for women’s leadership at the fund.
“The program provides basic tools and practical training to enhance women’s leadership in the industries system within the framework of developing the national industrial and logistics sector, through research insights from Stanford University and experts from Silicon Valley,” Almojel said.
SIDF Academy, which was established in 2019, aims to develop the human capabilities of the fund and the private sector workers from the fund’s clients and those interested in the industrial sector in society.
The Unique Women Leadership program seeks to sponsor Saudi female talents through skills training and mentoring to enhance their potential to become leaders in enterprises, in addition to enabling them to deal with challenges related to the labor market in the Kingdom.
As for the number of women working in the SIDF, the percentage of new female appointments for the year 2020 was 42 percent, and the total percentage of female employees in the workforce in 2021 was 22 percent, 24 of whom held leadership positions in the fund.
“The SIDF effectively contributes to the expansion of economic opportunities throughout the Kingdom, and it provides an enabling environment for national female talents, in addition to supporting projects that positively affect the promotion of economic opportunities for women in the country,” Almojel added.
“The fund provides a package of financial services and logistical support for start-ups, small and medium-sized companies, to help them expand their growth and employ more workers, along with supporting major companies in order to motivate them to localize their supply chains, and support building human capabilities in these bodies,” he added.
“We have a transparent and effective career progression path within the fund backed by specialized training and mentoring programs and opportunities to continue postgraduate studies, while enhancing skills and knowledge among the fund’s leaders, employees and clients from the private sector through the SIDF Academy,” he concluded.