On 20 January, a UN official said that the UN was conducting discussions with the Saudi authorities on a report that the kingdom is obliged to submit detailing its progress on women’s rights. Saudi Arabia signed up to the UN convention on ending discrimination against women in September 2001, with the proviso that the clauses must not contradict the teachings of Islam. Women make up about 4 per cent of the country’s workforce and are prohibited from working in many professions.