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Saudi adopts plan to boost women in economy

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RIYADH, Nov 22 (AFP) - The Saudi government adopted on Monday a development plan which aims to boost the participation of women in the economic life of the Islamic ultra-conservative kingdom.

The plan was adopted during the weekly cabinet session headed by King Abdullah, said a statement read by Culture and Information Minister Iyad Madani, according to the state news agency SPA.

The plan called for "increasing the participation of Saudi women, strengthening the role of the family in society and protecting its Islamic and Arab values by developing the capabilities of women and removing the obstacles hindering their participation in the development and economic activities."

There were no further details on the plan which called for raising living standards, providing more job opportunities, developing human resources and increasing the participation of the private sector in economic and social development of the wealthy kingdom.

King Abdullah, who acceded to the throne on August 1, began in the past few years supporting a slow process of reform in oil-rich Saudi Arabia while he was crown prince and de facto ruler.

But women remain subject to a host of restrictions, including a driving ban, and were excluded from landmark municipal elections earlier this year.



COPYRIGHT 2005 Agence France-Presse. All rights reserved.

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