S. Arabia: male assistant selling lingerie, 600 shops close

Wave of inspections checking enforcement of male staff ban

22 March, 15:16

    (ANSAmed) - DOHA, MARCH 22 - Six hundred underwear stores have been shut down in Saudi Arabia for breaking a law that forbids male staff from being hired, while 30 others have been given a deadline of 2 weeks to take on exclusively female members of staff. The news has been reported today in the Gulf press. A Saudi law approved in June last year not only forbids men from working as assistants in underwear and cosmetics shops, but also forbids men from even having access to the stores, meaning that men are unable to buy underwear for women. Women hired will also have to wear the hijab, which is traditional dress in Saudi Arabia and in a number of Gulf states, and consists of a long black tunic and a veil covering the head.

    The Saudi Employment Minister has sent a number of inspectors to check that the law is being enforced and has suspended the approval of male assistants who had been working in underwear and cosmetics shops. A similar regulation had been discussed by the Qatari government after controversy in the Emirate over women's unease at being served by men as they purchased underwear. In the end, the country opted for a gradual substitution of men by female staff when new assistants are hired. (ANSAmed).

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