Tidbits of Arabic News translated into English

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Saudi women in the kitchen

June 25, 2013: Apparently, there is a new law in Saudi Arabia amending their laws on female employment. I think it was just a few months ago that a law came into effect allowing women to work as cashiers in restaurants or hotels. They found that this did not work out, so the law has been amended so that women can only work in the kitchens of these places.

It was Fida Bassil who had the pleasure of interviewing the Saudi guy from the government defending the law. There was also a Saudi lady (on video from the US) as the counterpoint.

The Saudi guy's defense was to say that they were trying to ensure women worked in environments that were comfortable for them. Fida countered: tell us how it is that the environment in the kitchen is better for women than the environment at a check-out counter or in a hotel? 

Unfortunately, I’m not entirely sure what the Saudi guy's grand answer was, but something along the lines of:  Of course, let me tell you: we consulted with the hotels and they found this to be the case!

Then in the middle, Fida got something caught in her throat. Made her sound like she was crying, probably out of exasperation with the guy she was talking with. And how does the Saudi guy manage to get the words "women in the kitchen" out of his mouth when he sees someone like Fida in front of him?

The Saudi guy said: we want to start expanding work opportunities for women in the high places, not in the low places.

The Saudi lady in the brown scarf asked, why is it more ‘muhterim’ (respectful) for women to be selling water on the streets, than to be working as a cashier in a safe place? (so, I guess if you go to Saudi Arabia, you see a lot of women selling water on the street??)

The Saudi guy answers: the women we are talking about are 80% of them college graduates. Why should we start out by having them work as cashiers and in hotels?

Then they showed some random shots of Saudi women in public, as follows:

I always thought Saudi women had to cover their faces in public?? 

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