SHAFAQNA (Shia News Association) — In a move aimed at giving women in Saudi Arabia an easier time while shopping, men are to be barred from working in cosmetics and perfume shops in the ultra-conservative Gulf kingdom.
It comes only months after the country fully implemented a ruling that banned men from working in the lingerie business.
Economists in the country say the decision will give thousands of women the chance to work in the retail industry.
The measure covers all types of shops located in shopping malls and elsewhere.
“Women are more familiar with cosmetics than men. They know more of types and colours of skin,” said Masha’al Al Shamari, head of the communication center at the Saudi labor ministry, in a statement.
“Women will be dealing with women. They would feel more comfortable than dealing with men, especially when they are buying lingerie,” she was reported as saying by Gulf News, in reference to the now 6-month-old regulation requiring lingerie shops to hire only women employees.
The ministry had originally given shops until the first week of January to abide by the lingerie restrictions, but later pushed it back to allow all shops to comply.
If a shop is caught with male employees they will face the full penalty of the law, the ministry said earlier this year.
The punishments start with preventing the establishments from the services being provided by the ministry and increases until final closure.
The shops selling other women material including make-up, accessories and clothes were then given until June 30 to have only women working.
Women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had long complained about having to buy their lingerie from male shop attendants. —www.shafaqna.com/english/