Lately, lots of job offers to work in Middle East are appearing, and even this kind of exile worker is starting to be considered as a privileged person: 3000€ net salaries, accommodation included,…
Showing its economic development, Saudi Arabia revealed last year 100000 job offers available for medicine professionals, which is not a huge amount taking into account the current ratio of doctors per inhabitant, much more lower to developed countries. Qatar also offers this year 5000 jobs for a new hospital, erected by Spanish corporation OHL.
Nevertheless, what could be a good labor chance to the current high unemployed professionals in the sector, trips over the complex reality of midwest countries regarding women treat which reaches the 87% of total nursing professionals in Spain. And the truth is that nursing in Saudi Arabia (and, in general, in most of more conservative Muslim countries) is very complicated. According to certain Arabian nurses talking to ABC, “verbal bullying and dirty gaze of men visiting the hospital” are usual, they must hide theirs faces with a veil while performing the work and even suffer certain discrimination since their job decreases the chance of getting married. “Young men refuse me immediately when they know I am a nurse”. No one wants his wife to suffer daily lack of respect”.
Medical sector is the only one in which is allowed that women work together with men, since legislation in this country forbids the gender mix at institutions, factories and shops.
In addition, we must take into account that in Saudi Arabia, women has not right to vote (will have on 2015, although it won’t make a difference) or drive vehicles under sentence of lashing.
It is also important to remember as a deplorable anecdote, that IKEA avoided photos of women in its arabian catalogue since her inclusion is against social principles.
In a nutshell, it is a country in which women rights are ignored because a conservative interpretation of Islam and cultural customs unseen in the rest of World.
In this context, is it still a privilege to work as a nurse in Saudi Arabia for 3000€?.
Although very faintly, it seems that the situation is getting better little by little. As said, women will vote in 2015. This year will be also performed the first media campaign against women abuse promoted by King Khalid Charitable Foundation, in the country which caused the surprising approval of the first law against domestic violence and it seems that even most conservative divisions of society are pushing towards a change. Schooling of arabian women and their growing access to university (at least 58% of enrolled are women), as well as new communication technologies, are opening a way for hope. Social networking became a mighty tool for the movement of women emancipation.
Talking about nursing, there are as well campaigns to promote and give prestige to the profession.
Maybe for that reason is the fact that, in contrast, we meet Amaia Ibarrola (Navarra, 31 years old) who is working for a year at King Faisal Spaecialist Hospital in Riad, capital of the kingdom. Amaia says in an interview in El País that by working only on duty earns more than 4000€ a month, besides the free tax in Arabia and accommodation in the hospital included, what means that only has spends in the Internet and the cheap food, as she says.
Of course, Saudi Arabia is an islamic country and life conditions for a woman are very different to which a European woman can be used to. But Amaia took a step forward and, in fact, encourages their workmates to do the same. “What they have against is social life. It is a secretive country. Women must wear “abaya” (black tuni from the neck to the foot) with a hanky around the head”, says. “In fact, there are religion polices, “mutawa”, whom walk along shopping centres checking you are hidden”. And at work?. I don´t use “abaya”, but I can´t show the arms or knees or wear jeans or fit clothing”. These are the conditions and Amaia accepted it: “you must be clear about where you go, Saudi Arabia has its laws, we can´t drive or talk to men”. And despite that “I recommend, this is not Europe, but not a hell, I am happy”. Amaia earned between 1800 and 2000€ a month in Spain. Salary was her main reason. For sure, “we work more hours, 44 per week, but we have 54 paid days off”, she tells.
We met also Eva Hernández, Asturias, 27, who lives in Saudi Arabia for one year. She says “this is not a country to live for so long, western people live in a bubble, in houses called “compounds”, far away from the rest”. It´s a different culture to hers but she is planning to stay one more year since the lack of chances in Spain. She recognises she works more than before, but earns more than the double, some 4000€ a month. Eva encourages their mates to start the trip and, by her side, tries to avoid certain prejudices: “there are times in which we have more privileges and, besides, the welcome is incredible, they love Spanish”.
What do you think about it?. Is worth the effort for 4000€?. The need makes us adapt to denigrate situations?.
How affects the situation to exile workers from a psychosocial point of view?.
Photos: ABC, El País
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