Ali Bluwi of Arab News reports that Saudi Arabia will begin implementing a rule passed by the Ministry of Labor that only women can work in women’s lingerie and cosmetics stores.
The law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores was passed in 2006 however has never been put into effect. The Saudi Labor Ministry is now publicly stating the law will be enforced as of January 5, 2012, and says over 28,000 women have already applied for sales jobs.
The Ministry of Labor’s actions are historical because they widen the doors for women to enter the labor market, which has traditionally been dominated by men. The ministry cautioned it will be launching a campaign to actively monitor numerous shops to make sure that only women are working there. Stores found employing men will be penalized and potentially restricted from selling lingerie and other products, the ministry stresses.
Many Saudis are welcoming the decision as a positive step for a number reasons. Along with providing jobs for Saudi women, it also puts an end to the embarrassment of women needing to buy personal garments from men.