JEDDAH — Slimness and general appearance are the most important factors for young women who want to get jobs in some private sector establishments.
Many women have postgraduate degrees in required specializations but are rejected because of their appearance. Women who want jobs should be tall, slim and have an acceptable appearance. Those who are not will find it difficult to be employed. Some women are graduates of world-class universities and speak several foreign languages, but as they are not slim and do not have an acceptable appearance, they do not get jobs, Al-Madinah newspaper reported.
Fatima Siraj, who has a master’s degree in business administration from the US, said that after her return to Saudi Arabia she was surprised that the company she applied to refused to employ her despite the fact that it specialized in business administration projects.
She did not understand their reluctance to hire her since she has a master’s degree and practical experience in a company in the US where she worked as a trainee.
However, she was in for a big shock when she talked to one of the young women in the company with only a secondary school certificate who told her she was employed because she had a good appearance.
At this point, Siraj realized that her appearance and obesity was not what the company was looking for. As for her postgraduate degree, she can hang it on the wall at home and look at it whenever she wants.
Rania Mahmood, who has a bachelor’s degree in computer programming, said she applied for a job at the Ministry of Civil Service but did not receive a reply, so she decided to look for a job in the private sector.
She applied to several companies specializing in computer programming. She also went to employment offices and submitted her CV, but did not receive a reply from any of them. Whenever she talks to them, they tell her to wait, as they do not have any vacancies at the moment. She went to an employment office and submitted her papers, but the woman in charge of the office said she could not find a job for her in any computer programming company.
Mahmood said she was surprised because her degree qualifies her for a job in one of the best companies.
The woman said she could find a job for Rania as a saleswoman or cashier in a women’s shop with a low salary. She told Rania that companies do not like to employ obese women.
A year and a half has passed and Mahmood is still waiting for a job that suits her specialization. All she is being offered is a job as a saleswoman or a security guard.
Mona Al-Harbi, who took courses in executive management in Britain apart from her specialization in business administration, said the private companies she applied to refused to employ her because she is obese.
Al-Harbi weighs 100 kg but she has good qualifications and is capable of working in any company or establishment. Furthermore, she is fluent in spoken and written English. Earlier she worked in a temporary job as an office manager for a prominent female official in the government sector, but when the official transferred to another country, her job ended.
Aliyah Al-Jihani, the female owner of an office for employing women, said: “I don’t deny that the majority of private sector companies say they want to employ women who are tall and slim and have an acceptable general appearance. We try to explain to these companies that it is important to accept women with experience and postgraduate degrees who also know foreign languages.”