Saudi job advert for 30 female train drivers attracts 28,000 applications
Women were not even allowed to drive in the conservative kingdom until 2018
A job advert looking for 30 female train drivers in Saudi Arabia received more than 28,000 applications, as the country opens up more opportunities for women.
Spanish railway operator Renfe released the advert in December after getting approval from the Saudi Arabian government, and has received tens of thousands of applications.
However, Renfe said an online assessment of the candidates backgrounds and English language skills cut the applicant list by half, and it will work through the rest of the applications this month.
The popular role will see 30 women drive the famous Haramin high-speed railway between the holy site of Mecca and Medina, after a year of training.
Up until recently, job opportunities for Saudi women were rare, with most being limited to roles such as teachers and nurses due to gender segregation laws.
However, since Saudi Arabia committed to improving opportunities for all genders, the amount of women working in the country has doubled in the last five years to 33%.
In 2018, Saudi Arabia started issuing driving licenses to women for the first time in decades.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman decided to change the law as part of a liberalization drive across the country, which he claimed will help them grow their oil industry further.
However, the Prince came under criticism when Saudi women’s rights activist Loujain al Hathloul was jailed without a clear explanation just weeks before the driving ban was lifted.
She was later released after spending more than three years in jail.