Saudi women’s war to work
Women in KSA are again campaigning to ban men from working in lingerie stores. If successful, the move could create new job opportunities for the rising number of unemployed women in the Kingdom.
February 14, 2010 2:33 by Aarti Nagraj
Women in Saudi have launched a fresh campaign to ban men from working in lingerie shops, and plan to boycott the stores for two weeks. The campaign, announced on the Facebook group “Ban men from selling lingerie in KSA“, began on February 13, and organizers hope that at least 40,000 women will take part in it.
The activists are basically pushing for the implementation of a law, passed in 2006, which states that only women should be employed in shops that sell women’s items. However, the law has not been implemented so far, and most lingerie shops in Saudi are still staffed by men.
“If you really care about women’s rights and you are in Saudi Arabia, then starting from the 13th of February 2010 and for two weeks boycott all lingerie shops that employ men,” the campaigners said in a statement to the local media, reports Arab News. “The contradiction is in the fact that we are supposedly the most conservative nation in the world and yet women here divulge their bra and undie sizes and colors to strange men on a regular basis.”
The movement to implement the law was started by Reem Asaad, a finance lecturer in Jeddah, who launched the Facebook group to mobilize support for the cause in 2008. The group currently boasts more than 4,420 members.
In March last year, the group had organized its first boycott of male-staffed lingerie stores. Since then, some lingerie shops including Nayomi, Al-Sawani Laperla and Change have hired women as salespeople, according to Assad.
The group also organized a Lingerie Training workshop in June last year, which was conducted by Naomi McGill, a lingerie expert who flew in from Australia. Assad wrote on the Facegroup page that 26 students graduated from the course, and that they would try to arrange more such workshops to encourage more women to enter the industry.
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