A picture taken on February 20, 2018 shows Saudi gas station supervisor Mervat Bukhari (L) talking to a worker at her workplace in Khobar, 400 kms east of Riyadh. / AFP / STRINGER
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Mervat Bukhari, a force of nature draped head-to-toe in Islamic niqab, braved insults and taunts to become the first Saudi woman to work at a gas station, something unimaginable not long ago.Government statistics put more than one million Saudi women as currently looking to enter the workforce.The wide-reaching reforms have seen the Saudi labor market slowly open up to women, introducing them to jobs that were once firmly the preserve of men.Saudi media has championed in recent months the first woman restaurant chef, first woman veterinarian and even the first woman tour guide.Average monthly salaries in the private sector are close to 8,000 Saudi riyals ($2,134) for men, and only 5,000 riyals for women, according to research firm Jadwa.Saudi women now no longer need male permission to start business.
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