where do women go?

Once again, the options for where women can go by themselves is very limited. Some places women cannot go even if they are accompanied by a male relative. Here are some favorite spots that I have observed:

  • SHOPPING- at the end of the day (also in the beginning and the middle) there is not much to do other than shopping. Women collect in hordes and are usually laden with bags.
  • Banks- these are one of the few employers for women. Several banks have women-only branches. Others have permission from the Ministry of Labor to allow women to work in regular buildings but with special provisions for segregation
  • Hospitals and medical facilities- these are the only truly mixed work environments in the Kingdom. The vast majority of the women employed here are expats (e.g. all the nurses, majority of the drs). There is a sprinkling of Saudi female doctors and a few Saudi women at reception desks at the Ob/Gyn counters- the rest are ALL expats.
  • Women-owned businesses- there is a growing number of women who own their own small-businesses. As they cannot be employed by anyone else, they have started their own organizations to overcome the social hurdles.
  • Charities and non-profits- several women have started their own charities or work at them.
  • Coffee mornings and social events
  • Women-only spas/shops- there is a very small percentage of these available and they hire women
  • Schools and other educational institutions- all classes are separated by gender (with the exception of some of the expat schools) and so are all teachers. A lot of expat women are teaching. There is a growing number of educated Saudi women in teaching and administrative positions at higher-education institutions.
  • Amusements parks, “toylands”- women are often seen here with lots of children.
  • Public parks- women are seen here but usually as families, accompanied by at least one male.

At the end of the day, women are sadly under-represented in the workforce and are almost non-existent in the service sector. Some show a lot of spirit and try to beat the odds. The vast majority do nothing.

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