Saudi women are racing against time to prove themselves. Now they are competing for jobs that have traditionally been a monopoly to men.
In a media roundtable held at a Starbucks café in Riyadh, we met a girl in her twenties wearing a tennis cap. She introduced herself as Hana Al Badr, an area manager.
In a chat with Hana, she said: “I had a chance to work for Starbucks. I never hesitated because I was looking for a job to gain experience and learn how to confront challenges. I loved the atmosphere here, the passion, and the pressure. I loved sharing people’s views, choices, and love for coffee.”
She added: “Some customers ask me to make their coffee personally. They trust my way of preparing their coffee although the amounts and the way of preparation are standard in all Starbucks coffee shops. But some customers connect their cup of coffee with the barista who prepares it. This is something I am proud of, as it reflects the customer’s trust.”
Hana said she started as a junior barista and then learned the secrets of coffee making and the way coffee is cultivated, collected, and shipped to coffee shops around the world, where it is classified as black, brown, or mixed. She also learned the various flavors, the amounts of milk to be added, and many other things related to coffee and coffee making.
She concluded by saying: “I learned that meeting customers and preparing their coffee entails mutual happiness. My work at Starbucks helped me learn new skills that will help me in my future career. I am proud of being part of the world's largest and best quality coffee chain. I am also proud of being the first Saudi woman to reach this position at Starbucks. But my ambition will not stop here. I will go on, hoping to become the first Saudi woman to reach a position no one else has reached on the level of Saudi Arabia or the world."