What do you think of Saudia Arabia's plan for building a city exclusively for Women?

News link: No man’s land: Women-only city planned for Saudi Arabia Published: 10 August, 2012, 18:09 Saudi Arabia is to build a new city exclusively for women. The Gulf kingdom is working on the narrow junction between strict Sharia law and the aspirations of active females who wish to pursue their own careers. ­The new plan is to combine women’s desire to work in the modern age and provide a job environment that would go hand-in-hand with the country’s Sharia law. The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been charged to lead the country into a new era. The ambitious mono-city is now being designed with construction to begin next year. The municipality in the Eastern city of Hafuf is expected to attract 500 million riyals (US$133 million) in investments and it will create around 5,000 jobs in the textiles, pharmaceuticals and food processing industries. There will be women-run firms and production lines for women. Saudi Sharia law does allow women to work, given that her essential duties of homemaking should not be neglected. But in reality around 15 per cent of women are represented in the workforce, according to some estimates. The Modon plan shadows the government’s desire for women to play a more important role in the development of the country. Among the stated objectives are to create job spots for young people. "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," Modon’s deputy director-general, Saleh Al-Rasheed, told Saudi daily al-Eqtisadiah. Saudi’s existing industrial cities already have factories owned by women, as well as companies that employ a small portion of the female population. Apart from Hafuf, the Saudis are developing more women-only polis projects. “We are now working on a second industrial city for women,” said Saleh Al Rasheed. “We have plans to establish a number of women-only industries in various parts of the kingdom.” The kingdom’s rampant desire to boost its citizen workforce participation and change the women’s unemployment rate is also changing the retail landscape. The state is attempting to replace foreign salespeople with Saudi women in its female apparel shops, according to a research carried out by Booz and Co. This summer, women started replacing sales staff in cosmetics and perfume shops, only half a year after they replaced male sales staff in lingerie stores. By the end of the year, women plan to replace their gender counterparts in stores selling abayas, the traditional black cloak worn by women. But despite the degree of emancipation, women's rights in Saudi Arabia are still defined by Islam and lack basic freedoms found in many Western cultures. For instance, Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that prohibits women from driving. Yet recently efforts have been made to change the societal structure in the kingdom. Last September, King Abdullah announced that women will be able to vote and run in the 2015 local elections, and be appointed to the Consultative Assembly. This July, women also obtained the right to represent their country at the London Olympic Games. I find Purdah silly. What that is, is that unrelated men and women can be charged by the Mutawwa (religious police) for mingling. Women are not allowed to talk to members of the opposite sex in private or public places - unless they're married or a direct blood relative.

Asked By: - 8/19/2012
Best Answer - Chosen by Asker
Offering women more opportunities to work, and education is always a good idea for those that are interested in doing so, and hope that it doesn't take anything away from the male population at the same time. I guess what I am saying is 'balance' is key. As you say, it can be a hardship if a women is expected to work... More
Answered By: Mabe - 8/19/2012
Additional Answers (4)
I'm glad they are trying to change the old gender barriers, but it seems to me a rather odd way to go about it. A single city for women, seems to be bypassing the real issue and also only affect a small number. However, i've never been there, so won't be too critical. I'm sure they have their reasons for that... More
Answered By: Common Sense - 8/19/2012
A lesbian's paradise.
Answered By: Shia LaDrunk - 8/19/2012
As long as women do all the design, construction and maintenance too. Go for it.
Answered By: ʄaçade - 8/19/2012
It's a step in the right direction but I'm afraid the Saudis will screw it up. I don't think segregation of the sexes is a good idea but their intent is good. Will the execution of the idea work? We'll see.
Answered By: jethom33545 - 8/19/2012
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