A Saudi woman works inside the first all-female call centre in the kingdom's security sector, in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia August 29, 2017. REUTERS/Suhaib Salem
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Seven women sit in front of computer screens fielding distress calls from across Mecca ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage this week, in a first for Saudi Arabia as it tries to expand workforce participation. The seven, almost all wearing the black niqab over their faces, form the first women's section of an emergency call center in the kingdom, which has begun offering more education and employment opportunities to the half of the population that has traditionally stayed at home.This is the first year the women's section will operate during the hajj, which is expected to attract about 2 million Muslims for a week of sacred rituals starting Wednesday.
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