Last updated: 16 September, 2012

Saudi shuts male-staffed lingerie shops

The labour ministry has ordered the closure of around 100 lingerie shops in the Saudi capital for having men on their sales staff, a newspaper said on Sunday.

Al-Eqtisadiah quoted a ministry official as saying all shops which violate a decree on the “feminisation and nationalisation of jobs” would be shut down. The measure aims to “provide a safe environment for working women,” he said.

The ministry at the start of the year banned male assistants from working at lingerie shops, as a first step to be followed by women-only sales assistants at cosmetics outlets.

King Abdullah issued a decree in June 2011 limiting work for females at lingerie shops to Saudi women only in a bid to reduce high female unemployment in the conservative kingdom.

Unemployment among women in the oil-rich state is estimated at 30 percent.