Saudi Arabia’s Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has announced the creation of a women’s city in order to maintain the country’s strict sharia principles but also allow women who are eager to fulfill their career ambitions to do so.
The city is already being planned out and construction will begin in 2013. The eastern city of Hafuf will attract about 500 million riyals ($133 million) and should create at least 5,000 jobs in textiles, pharmaceuticals, and food processing. All firms, factories, and production lines will be run and maintained by women.
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Sharia law in Saudi Arabia permits women working as long as her duties in the home are also fulfilled. However, working is difficult for women who are not allowed out of the home without a close male family member.
Modon’s plan for the city is to allow women a more prominent role in the country’s economic well-being and to create jobs. Deputy General Saleh Al-Rasheed told the Saudi daily al-Eqtisadiah, “I’m sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, their nature and their ability.”
Many of Saudi Arabia’s industrial centers already have areas cordoned off for women and factories owned and run by women. But Modon plans on expanding this sector over the next few years.
Al-Rasheed continued, “We are now working on a second industrial city for women. We have plans to establish a number of women-only industries in various parts of the Kingdom.”
The role of women in the workplace has changed drastically over the past year, ever since women demanded the right to replace male staff in lingerie shops. Soon after, women replaced male employees in a number of female-related stores such as those selling perfume, cosmetics, lingerie, and abayas.
Image credit: Flickr, Ranoush