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Mon 28 Mar 2016 12:40 PM

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Saudi Arabia rolls out third phase of ‘feminisation’ drive

Women’s shops in Saudi to be 100 percent staffed by females

Saudi Arabia rolls out third phase of ‘feminisation’ drive
(Getty Images)

Shops selling women’s products and accessories in Saudi Arabia must be staffed entirely by women, the Ministry of Labour has ordered.

Saudi Arabian authorities are insisting on 100 percent ‘feminisation’ of all employment roles in retail shops in major cities of the kingdom, according to Saudi Gazette.

The move is part of the third phase of kingdom-wide plans to ‘feminise’ the women’s retail sector, the newspaper said.

An unnamed source was quoted as saying: “The third phase was supposed to start last October and this month was supposed to be dedicated to the feminisation of women shops in small governorates.

“The plan was delayed as there were many adjustments that needed to be completed in order to feminise many of the shops.”

Stores affected by the new measures include those that sell perfumes, mother care products, women’s clothes, shoes, bags and purses, socks and tights, according to the source, who added: “Many women retailers have requested the Ministry of Labour to extend the feminisation deadline to give them a chance to renovate the workplace to make them suitable for women staff.”

However, many business owners are reportedly “not ready” to hire women in their shops because the units fail to comply with safety and privacy requirements for women’s work environments as set out by the Ministry of Labour.

And, according to the source, business owners have hit out at plans to feminise small street market kiosks, claiming such environments are “unsafe” for women.

Retailers that fail to comply with the feminisation plans face fines of up to SR50,000 ($13,300), or risk having their business shut down.

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