Saudi Arabia is planning to build a new city exclusively for women in a bid to combine Sharia law and career minded females, pursuing work.
It is thought the Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been asked to bring the country up to date with the rest of the modern world with the controversial city, which is now being designed with construction to begin next year.
It is hoped it will allow women’s desire to work without defying the country’s strict Islamic laws. The municipality in the Eastern city of Hafuf is expected to attract 500 million riyals in investments and it will create around 5,000 jobs in the textiles, pharmaceuticals and food processing industries.
There will be women-run firms and production lines for women. Although Saudi Sharia law does not prohibit women to work, figures show that only 15 per cent of women are represented in the workforce.
Sharia Law is the moral code and religious law of Islam dealing with crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as sexual intercourse, hygiene, diet, prayer, and fasting. In general Sharia doesn’t guarantee equal rights for women and men. For many it does but for rights including marital and inheritance laws, it doesn’t.
Married women have the right to seek employment although it is often thought in patriarchal societies that the woman’s role as a wife and mother should have first priority.
The plan coincides with the governments ambitions to get women to play a more active part in the development of the country. Among the stated objectives are to create jobs, particularly for younger women.
“I’m sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suits their interests, their nature and their ability,” Modon’s deputy director-general, Saleh Al-Rasheed, was quoted as saying.
Saudi’s existing industrial cities already have factories owned by women, as well as companies that employ a small portion of the female population.
“We are now working on a second industrial city for women,” Saleh Al Rasheed said. “We have plans to establish a number of women-only industries in various parts of the kingdom,” he added.
15% No of women represented in the workforce in Saudi Arabia