Lingerie Justice: Saudi Women Get A Lift
By NPR.org on July 05, 2011
[Did you know that Saudi women could only buy lingerie from male sales clerks? Mind-boggling, right? But as Ellen Knickmeyer at NPR.org reports, a new law is finally allowing female saleswomen into the dressing room--a move that, like the driving campaign, could open other doors for Saudi women.--Mona]
While on the surface quite small, each of the pending changes, Saudi activists argue, should be viewed as a chipping away at the gender segregation that crushes the employment prospects of most of the kingdom's more than 10 million Saudi women and drains fortunes from Saudi women and their families.
Reem Asaad, a banker and analyst in Jeddah who was one of the leaders of the campaign for female lingerie clerks, started the lingerie effort after receiving one-too-many unwelcome bits of advice from a male clerk about her underwear, she says. Ultimately, though, Asaad told me in a phone call, her campaign has been about economic justice, starting with what activists say is the more than $1 billion annual lingerie trade in Saudi.