Saudi Arabia sets lingerie gender barrier at 160 cm

Newspaper slams decision and asks “what if a female employee is taller?"

Saudi Arabia has told all its lingerie shops to set up a 160 cm tall wall to segregate male and female workers and the decision drew immediate criticism from the local press.

The Ministry of Labour and Saudi Arabia’s feared religious police—the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice—have just agreed that the segregation wall at the Gulf Kingdom’s lingerie shops must be 160 cm high.

The agreement is part of a drive by the conservative Moslem nation, which controls a quarter of the world’s oil wealth, to replace most male workers at its lingerie shops with females for social reasons and to create jobs for its women. Shops which could retain some male employees must construct that wall.

“Why is the segregation wall that hides women working in lingerie shops required to be 160 cm (roughly 5.2 feet) high? This was the first question that came to mind after I read about this bizarre separation wall rule,” Saudi Gazette newspaper said.

“On what basis was this figure determined? I would like to see the scientific study according to which we have come to know the average height of peeping toms!”

While commending the Commission’s decision to let women work at those place, the paper said it was astonished at the “unjustified” agreement for the 160 cm wall.

It said such an agreement was not needed after the cabinet approved a recommendation allowing Saudi women to work at lingerie shops.

“This means that no further agreements or approvals are needed. It is true that we have finally allowed our women to work. It is equally true that our consent has been wrapped in several impossible conditions that have nothing to do with women in the workplace,” the paper said on a commentary.

“What if a female employee is taller than the wall? Do we bring in specialist doctors to shorten her? I really want to know: Why 160 cm?”

 

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