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Launch of the lingerie campaign in Saudi
Women in the kingdom are boycotting lingerie stores to push for the implementation of a law that allows female staff to work in shops selling women’s undergarments.
March 26, 2009 4:47 by Aarti Nagraj
Women in Saudi Arabia are boycotting lingerie stores that do not employ women, reports The Associated Press (AP). The kingdom passed a law in 2006 decreeing that only women should be employed in shops that sell women’s items; however, it has not been implemented so far, and most lingerie shops in Saudi are staffed by men.
“The way that underwear is being sold in Saudi Arabia is simply not acceptable to any population living anywhere in the modern world,” Reem Asaad, a finance lecturer in Jeddah, one of the organizers of the campaign told the BBC.
“This is a sensitive part of women’s bodies,” she said. “You need to have some discussions regarding size, color and attractive choices and you definitely don’t want to get into such a discussion with a stranger, let alone a male stranger. I mean this is something I wouldn’t even talk to my friends about.”
According to reports, another problem that the women face is that the shops don’t have fitting rooms. “I have bras with sizes ranging from 32 to 38 because I can’t get to try them on,” Modie Batterjee, one of the boycott organizers told the AP.
When the law was passed in 2006, the Saudi labor ministry announced it would inspect the shops to ensure that men are not serving customers, and warned that those who failed to follow the law would face fines.
The Independent, a UK-based paper, reported at the time that a survey in Jeddah found that out of 247 shops selling lingerie and beauty products, only three employed women.
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