Foreign policy: lingerie store redefines’ support ‘
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A Saudi woman wears a seat belt before driving in jeddah, in western Saudi Arabia. On June 17, some Saudi women drove their cars in response to a nationwide campaign to break the ban on women driving.
Michael Bou-Nacklie/Michael Bou-Nacklie.
Aaron Knickmeyer is the former director of the Middle East bureau of the Washington post and director of the ap Africa bureau. It contributed to the cost of reporting on the crisis report, the Pulitzer center.
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – at the “lady level” at the shopping centre in the heart of Saudi Arabia’s capital kingdom, the Saudi women’s revolution is flattering bras. Gender barriers in bodybuilders and underpants are falling. Saudi activists think that, in the spring and summer, in order to alleviate some of the most difficult for women in the world, said Saudi Arabia, it is to formulate the employment ordinance – this female clerk can wait to women underwear shop.
It doesn’t matter, the labor law has changed from 2005 to 2006, Saudi women activists resistance and online campaign, king abdullah finally personally intervene in this month, to deal with underwear shop assistant fat, so Saudi women don’t need not with male staff to talk about the cup size and overflow muffin top.
In king abdullah government this year in order to further open up China’s work and accept education for women in Saudi Arabia conservative conference last week appeared surprisingly easy reaction, against the ban on women driving for decades one of the biggest protests, this summer is quite promising to provide greater freedom for women in Saudi Arabia.
“This is great! A big change, “said Latifa al-fahed, 18, who scanned the clothes racks at Debenhams department store in the centre of the kingdom.
(king abdullah’s edict has yet to be implemented, requiring female employees to sell products the king calls “women’s necessities”, even in men’s shopping malls. At present, most shops, Saudi Arabia and most workplace are equipped with men – Saudi women in the proportion of labor force is less than 15%, exceptions include women’s education and health care, and the isolation only women’s shopping malls and ms “level”, women can in other women shopping alone, price premium).
Even conservative women who oppose other moves, such as allowing women to drive, encourage women’s underwear. “I’m married, so I want to buy something sexy.” Fatima, a 22-year-old girl, explained to me after buying some lace and flowers in her eyes, except for her eyes. “These are sensitive issues. I will never buy from men. I support this change.”
Saudi activists think that, although seemingly quite small, but every pending changes should be seen as weaken the factor of gender segregation, the gender segregation are cracking down on the country’s most must Saudi women’s employment prospects, and loss of wealth from Saudi women and their families.
She said, a banker and analyst at jeddah Reem Asaad is one of the leaders of female underwear shop assistant campaign, she received a male clerk about underwear too much work began after the unpopular proposal underwear. In the end, however, Asaad told me on the phone that her campaign was about economic justice, starting with activists saying the country’s annual trade in underwear exceeded $1 billion.
Asaad says that because of the promise of the lingerie store, “thousands of women can now go to work”. “It’s not bad.”
Princess Ameerah al-taweel said one of the first barriers to the crushing of mixed gender barriers could lead to breakthroughs in other professions and trade. As the wife of one of the world’s richest men, the wife of Saudi Arabia’s prince, tavel, 28, has become an outspoken advocate of female driving, employment and education.
“Things are happening, but we want them to happen faster,” she said. “Everything we ask for is very good for our society.”
In general, for most of the restrictions of Saudi women is to stop the shop, the mixed in the workplace and the school, the country’s wahhabi sect of sunni Islam, many people think it is immoral. The government’s own religious edict standing committee in a statement this month highlights the prohibitive statement: a quote from the Koran “when you ask any goods (the wife of the prophet muhammad), from behind the scenes to ask them. For your heart and their heart more pure. ”
Those who advocate more freedom for women in Saudi Arabia say the interpretation of the Koran is extreme. Even the prophet muhammad’s first wife, they say, was a shrewd businesswoman, and by tradition they fought on camels.
Efforts to apply the 18th century tribal customs and islamic law to the 21st century islamic life have led to some awkward misinterpretations. A ban on female driving forces millions of Saudi women to share a closed car with the hired driver. Ban on women working in a mixed environment means too much positive shout all male cosmetics clerk in the store, they just dry skin, and lingerie salesman with a used car salesman’s sole decision authority from bra has a lot of ford Tauruses.
In most civil affairs, women have to work through male guardians, or through relatively weak female clerical workers on small issues, whether they are commercial licenses, dowry or inheritance.
The financial impact on Saudi women could be devastating. The blog author Eman Fahad Al Nafjan said the ban on women driving alone would impose a yearly salary of $10,000 a year for women – a paid driver.
Nafjan spoke to me one day last week, citing the example of a growing daughter of divorced or widowed mothers who had to rely on charity even if they could be hired.
While 60 per cent of the saudis who accept education are women, the restrictions help Saudi women earn a college degree with a projected unemployment rate of 75 per cent.
In the end, economics should force some barriers down, says John Sfakianakis, chief economist at Riyadh Banque Saudi Fransi. As elsewhere, “Saudi Arabia is becoming an economic necessity” because households have more than one wage earner. “We’re going to see more and more women looking for jobs.”
So far, however, Saudi Arabia has moved slowly on women’s issues – because it has been moving. In Riyadh, Noufi al-sheikh, 22, is one of many women who say they may drive themselves in four to five years. “Now the country itself rejects the idea,” shaikh said.
As the young and the old have fiercely criticised, the news archive shows that the saudis have been giving the framework for any year since at least 1975.
King abdullah usually regards his measures as an economic and employment opportunity rather than a rights issue. The saudis who support his change believe he has managed his family and more conservative elements of the country’s religious establishment after six years of rule. Some say they have been exposed to the Internet, have conversations on Facebook and Twitter, and broaden the view of the saudis, who need to redouble their efforts.
Activists say they hope king abdullah will see more improvement in women, but they privately worry about what will happen after the Saudi government says it was born in 1924.
Women’s problems often make Saudi society nervous, and sometimes even threaten the Saudi monarchy. King faisal deployed troops in the 1960s to keep one of the country’s oldest girls’ schools. In 1979 to take over the mecca mosque motivation part of religious extremists is anger over new arrival of satellite antenna, the satellite antenna will is to expose the image of women into the Saudi home.
In 1990, when 47 women held their last major demonstration in Saudi Arabia, angry religious conservatives poured into government buildings to protest.
Fawziah al-bakr and 46 other women drove on a Tuesday in 1990, she recalled. On Friday that week, a mosque spokesman called Bakr from the minarets, her husband and others, and urged them to be killed.
This time, the response to the new generation of women’s driving protests on June 17 was even more insipid, she admitted – several police traffic tickets, some in the shadow of Internet chat rooms.
Then barker, now a college professor, stopped. She patted her on the forehead.
“Oh, my god,” she groaned. “I can’t believe this is 20 years from now, we’re still talking about women driving.”