Saudi women break taboos with unconventional jobs

Updated 29 January 2014
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Saudi women break taboos with unconventional jobs

Financial hardship and social circumstances have forced many Saudi women to accept jobs that they would have rejected in the past for traditional reasons.
“After my divorce, I stayed at my parent’s house with my five children,” said Um Nawal, a 30-year-old divorced mother. Her father told her to give up her children if she wanted to live in the family house.
“I refused, left the house and rented a place of my own. A friend told me about a job as a saleswoman at a women’s shop,” she said.
Um Nawal said, “I really needed income for my children to live a decent life. I accepted, but was embarrassed at first. I have since become the director of the branch.”
She explained that not working for fear of social reprimand is redundant, especially if the job can be carried out in a safe environment.
Bariah Ali, an event manager at a hotel, agreed with her: “I am a divorced woman with no children, but my financial situation is poor. I badly needed to earn my own fixed income to live a decent life.”
She said she found this job “despite my family’s objections, who care for our traditions as a conservative family.”
“I now earn more than my sister, who has been working as a teacher for 15 years,” said Ali.
Asmma, a director of a women’s shop, said she got a job as a saleswoman within six months of her divorce.
“I needed an income to provide for my children and pay rent. There is no shame in a woman working to provide for her family if the job is within a decent environment,” she said. She added that Saudi women proved they could work and succeed in every field of work.
Abrar Muhammad, a social worker at a charity organization, said some families still hold on to the idea that women should work only in a limited range of jobs.
“Some of our customs and traditions have forced women to enroll in a limited range of functions that are difficult to obtain, especially in these present circumstances.”
She referred to women working in public places that many parents reject under the pretext of mixing with men. “Women working in compliance with Islamic law by wearing Islamic attire is a very important issue for both the economics of the country at large and for females and their families,” said the social worker.


Eighth animal dies after jaguar escapes Audubon Zoo habitat

Updated 26 min 24 sec ago
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Eighth animal dies after jaguar escapes Audubon Zoo habitat

  • No people were hurt and the zoo was reopened Sunday

NEW ORLEANS: Eight animals have now died after a jaguar escaped from its habitat at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.
NOLA.com reports an alpaca and fox died Sunday, the day after the male jaguar killed four alpacas, one emu and one fox Saturday morning. The jaguar was captured and returned to its night house after being sedated by a vet team.
No people were hurt and the zoo was reopened Sunday.
The zoo acquired the alpacas in March from farms in Alabama and Mississippi. The alpaca that died overnight Sunday was the zoo’s last living alpaca.
One injured fox continues to be monitored.
It’s not immediately clear how the animal escaped. Zoo officials say inspections found that the roof was “compromised,” but initial findings concluded that keeper error was not a factor.