Saudi supermarkets hire female cashiers

Female staff work in separate sections designated for families only, surrounded with glass partitions.
FEMALE CASHIERS: The Marhaba supermarket in Jeddah placed an advert in a local newspaper looking for female cashiers. (Getty Images)
By Shane McGinley
Tue 31 Aug 2010 10:21 AM

Saudi supermarkets have pushed ahead with plans to employ female cashiers, despite objections and threats of a boycott, it was reported on Tuesday.

The Marhaba supermarket in Jeddah placed an advert in a local newspaper looking for female cashiers. The requirements included “being Saudi, possessing a high school or university certificate, willing to cover the face, and to put on a simple abaya with no decorations on,” the Arab News reported.

The move follows a similar initiative by rival supermarket chain Panda, which caused much controversy among the kingdom’s more conservative commentators.

One of the new female cashiers told the newspaper that was forced to accept the job after she failed to find a job as a teacher.

The graduate, who has a degree in history, said she was being paid SR3,000 ($799.94) a month and worked with five other female cashiers, eight hours a day from 8am to 4pm.

In both the supermarkets, the female cashiers work in separate sections designated for families only, which are surrounded with glass partitions.

Saudi columnist Mohammad Al-Saaid told the newspaper that the move was a sign that Saudi society had changed a lot in the last ten years and he disagreed with charges that the employment of female cashiers was no more than a marketing ploy by the two supermarkets.

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