Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Women Fight for Lingerie Rights in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia, twenty-six women recently completed the country’s first course of its kind on how to fit, stock and sell women’s underwear and lingerie. As of now, though, the graduates cannot practice what they’ve learned.

The 10-day course was organized three months after a group of Saudi women launched a campaign to promote a 2006 law — saying that only women could be employed in women’s apparel stores — that was never properly implemented. As part of the campaign, Saudi women are encouraging each other to boycott lingerie stores until they employ women. There are only a few women-only boutiques in the entire country, most of which are in shopping centers.

In a country where men and women (that aren’t related or married) can’t even stand in the same line as each other at fast-food restaurants, it’s no wonder that women don’t want to discuss their intimate apparel with male employees. In fact, fitting rooms are not even allowed because the thought of a women changing in a public place (although not seen) is “appalling”. Most women buy the wrong sizes because they can’t try them on, are embarrassed, or often because male employers scrutinize them for asking for a certain cup size.

The idea for the training came as a resolution to industry’s complaints that there were few qualified women in the market; hopefully, these recent grads will be the first step towards proving them wrong. Show your support for the campaign and follow it more closely on the campaign’s Facebook page.