First Saudi women trained to assemble trucks

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(AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi women have broken into yet another male-dominated industry, with 13 women trained to assemble trucks for luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz.

The Juffali Automotive Company in Jeddah has taken on the women to help build 5,000 trucks annually in a joint venture with Mercedes-Benz, according to local media.

Women have been making numerous breakthroughs in employment recent under a push by King Abdullah to see more women working.

About 20 percent of Saudi women are believed to be employed, making up an estimated 15 percent of the workforce.

They are now allowed to work in some retail stores and in schools, while the first female Saudi lawyer was appointed earlier this month.

Also this year restrictions on girls playing sport at school have been removed for private schools and women have been allowed to ride bikes. The kingdom remains the only country in the world that bans women from driving.

A Juffali Automotive Company spokesman said the firm’s 13 women were employed full-time.

The company intended to hire more female trainees and eventually expand its factory to create a separate female section.

“We are the first pioneers in automobile industry who took the initiative of training women in this field, complying with Shariah, at our training center,” he told Arab News.

“We began with only five women. We now have almost 15. We took the initiative so we can better serve the country and nation. We don’t differentiate between men and women in terms of salary and other benefits. All our employees are equal to us.”

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