Gender-segregation partitions draw mixed reaction



JEDDAH: FADIA JIFFRY

Published — Saturday 2 February 2013

Last update 2 February 2013 4:37 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

A new ruling issued by Saudi Labor Minister Adel Fakeih and approved by Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, the head of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, require shops employing both men and women to build segregation walls to enforce the separation of men and women.
The barriers to be built will be no shorter than 6 feet in workplaces that employ members of both sexes.
“It is not a wall,” said Dr. Aisha Natto, member of Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “They said it is only a partition between the sexes in a shop that employ both men and women. It is up to the ceiling. So for those who understood it as a wall, it’s clearly not a wall but just a partition.
He said the partition will be approximately between 1 and 1.8 meters.
Natto said that it is one of the solutions to empower women to work in these shops.
“It is not a government law but a social law,” she said. “People refuse to have women work as saleswomen. So the government tried a compromise solution so the women can work in shops.”
She noted that 50 years ago people refused to have women work in schools but now that has changed.
“In my case, I am a writer. Six years ago, they didn’t allow my photo to be published with my articles but now that has changed too,” Natto said. “I am allowed to publish my photo with each of my articles. We just need time. It is a social obstacle and not a government obstacle. It is not a law or has anything to do with religion. There is no such thing as not allowing a woman to work, in religion.”
Natto pointed out that the main objective is simply not to have women be in touch with men.
“We have 1-million-seven-hundred jobless women in this country. We need the government, the media and organizations to encourage this logistic initiative till we have our women tackle their rising problem of unemployment. We need to help and empower them,” said Natto.
While some Saudi women agree that the decision will bring more employment opportunities for women, others still think that the “wall” is not going to stop any harassment.
“It is a totally bad idea to have a wall built to separate both sexes in shops,” said Dalal A. Kaaki, director of women business center at the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “The harassment can happen anyway when a man comes to a saleswoman with his family. Building a wall with an intention to separate the sexes has nothing to do with stopping the harassment. Instead, a strong law must be enforced to punish the one who harasses. Implementing such a law will prevent people from attempting to do something bad, whether it is to the salesmen, saleswomen or the customers.”
The Ministry of Labor decision to employ women at lingerie and cosmetic boutiques in 2011 was to create more jobs for Saudi women, among whom the rate of unemployment reached a height of 30 percent, according to official figures.
According to recent reports, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheikh said in a Friday sermon that authorities must adhere to Shariah by making sure that men and women are separated as much as possible at all times.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: The Ministry of Education has suspended all parallel education programs, except in medical and engineering specialties, as well as bridging programs for health diploma certificates.Education Minister Azzam Al-Dhakil gave directions to the rec...
RIYADH: The Cooperative Health Insurance Council said it had suspended operations of six medical insurance companies for violating health insurance regulations by issuing insurance policies without completing the required documentation and violating...
JEDDAH: A local survey found that almost half of Saudis abide by rules and laws in public places outside the Kingdom more than they do inside the country.More than one-third of the respondent sample said they violate road traffic signs and directions...
DAMMAM: A 50 percent decline in the prices of some types of fish in the Dammam Central Market was noted compared to the previous month.Fish sellers attributed this decline to an increased fish supply and fall in demand from hotels and consumers durin...
RIYADH: In a two-day operation, police arrested 343 beggars including women and children during the holy month of Ramadan.A police officer said the raid was carried out in the Salehiya district and 220 of those arrested were women from Ethiopia. “Mos...
RIYADH: Hotels in the capital have made special arrangements by setting up Ramadan tents, where diners can visit to begin and break their fast with special suhoor and iftar meals during the ongoing fasting month.As the Ramadan tent is a popular pheno...
JEDDAH: Kaddadin, or unlicensed transporters, say there is good money to be made during Ramadan especially in transporting Umrah pilgrims from Jeddah to Makkah and back.During this month the number of visitors doubles or triples which means the price...
RIYADH: The holy month of Ramadan is lively at night following Taraweeh prayers. Nights are turned into days during the month in the industrial area where there is a large concentration of automobile workshops.The industrial areas are well illuminate...
RIYADH: The Saudi man behind the green project that ensured 3,400 trees in Khurais in the Eastern Province for a government firm has been approached by a Kuwaiti oil company for a similar project. “After learning about the project in the Eastern Prov...
RIYADH: A total of 1,300 Gambian pilgrims will come to the Kingdom to perform Haj this year, Ambassador Omar Gibril Sallah said on Thursday.“We hope that the pilgrims will observe the fifth pillar of Islam in peace and harmony and may Allah accept th...
RIYADH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) and the Disabled Children’s Association (DCA) have launched a traffic safety campaign, to reduce the number of accidents that cause disability.Prince Sultan bin Salman, the SCTNH...
JEDDAH: The holy month of Ramadan is a period when non-Muslim expatriates too abstain from eating, drinking or smoking during the daytime out of respect for Muslims who fast from dawn to dusk and also because it is healthy. The expatriates are also...
A policeman was killed in an anti-terror operation on Friday in the western city of Taif, according to the interior ministry. An exchange of fire resulted in the death of the policeman after a raid to arrest a wanted person, state news agency SPA quo...
RIYADH: Customs authorities at Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah have foiled an attempt to smuggle 52,850 Xanax capsules into the country.The drug, an anti-depressant, banned in the Kingdom, was found hidden under the clo...
RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has ordered that two men face trial for allegedly insulting the late King Abdullah.Quoting reliable sources, a local online publication said that King Salman has also barred Mohsin Al-Awaji and Ab...

Stay Connected

Facebook