Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Saudi segregation of the sexes worsens

As if forcing women to cloak themselves in sacks of cloth (other than peepholes for their eyes) isn't wretched enough, the Saudi government continues to dehumanize women by segregating them from men in the work place.

"Female bank employees are being partitioned away from their male colleagues in their workplaces under new rules enforcing Saudi segregation of the sexes, a move women say is squeezing them out of the few business realms where they have been gaining more rights." "Saudi Arabia has long enforced a strict Islamic lifestyle in which men and women are segregated in public, including at schools, universities, restaurants,
lines outside international fast food outlets and bank branches catering to customers.

The measures are a major setback for women, who have long struggled to prove themselves in this male-dominated society. Saudi women are believed to make up less than 10 percent of the work force and have mostly worked in the education and health sectors. They insist they were not breaching Islamic principles by working with men. They said banks already had strict rules governing interactions between the sexes. For example, female staffers had to wear always the mandatory black abaya, or cloak, and veil. They could not wear makeup, hold closed-door meetings with the male staff or date them. Many also could not attend business lunches with male clients for fear the religious police would arrest them for illegally mixing with men."

So, the Saudis wrap their women in swaths of black material so that they're totally indistinguishable from a walking bolt of fabric, unable to drive, segregated in all public places and YET they still feel the need to segregate them in the work place? How insane is that? Do Muslim/Arab men have so little self control that a pair of hands and 2 eyes are a temptation? Placing the burden for man's inability to control his sexual desires on a woman is reprehensible. And it certainly doesn't say much for their spiritual fortitude or their religion , for that matter.


Pat Jenkins said...

"i am women hear me roar" probably doesn't get much air play on saudi radio. in all seriousness your last line was superbly written incog, and it goes to show any who live by a creed of attempted rightousness show more of themselves to be the villians instead of showing themselves of God.

Frasypoo said...

Thats horrible,I have a cousin who works for a bank there,(Citibank I think)
Some Muslims wear the black dress with head scarf in India too.My husband was so shocked when he saw them outside a Muslim womens college.Its like 2 ends of a stick-the completely covered up part on one end and the college education on the other.Though in Indian muslim mens favor... the educated ones free their wives of the outfit.
I had a muslim friend in college and would love to do a post on their strange customs if I knew I would not be showered with idiotic comments

Panhandle Poet said...

How can they tell if a bank robber walks in?

Karen said...

It is so odd, isn't it? Women have absolutely no value to the Muslim society. Just property. Sharia law is barbaric. So, blaming women for self-control issues of men is all that's left.

Well written commentary.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

This culture is literally incomprehensible to me. I will never forget the Sally Fields' movie, Not Without My Daughter and the true story it was based on.

I have a female relative that married a man from Pakistan. He got deported shortly after 9/11 and she is in complete denial and justifies how Pakistan views and treats women. In fact she is there visiting him right now because the U.S. refuses to allow him back in.

WomanHonorThyself said...

you know I dont think segregation in and of itself is bad..after all may affairs do happen at the workplace but its all the torture and disrespect and LACK of all rights for women that burns me hun!..great post!..missed ya!

Opal: Vegan Momma said...

It's a shame they completely disrespect their women I have no idea why some people here in the USA don't realize that.

Incognito said...

PAT: They're all too scared there to do anything about their plight. Very sad. Amen to your last sentence!

FRASY: I don't have as much a problem with the loose scarves (not the one's that make them look like nuns) as I do the face veil and Burqa. So the women are allowed to not wear the veils in public? Just the word "allow" grieves me. As though we are children or chattle who are allowed to do something. I say go ahead and do the post. I do posts that not everyone agrees with. :-)

PAN: Or a terrorist, for that matter. Easy to hide a bomb under all that cloth.. and they have.

KAREN: Yes, it is frustrating. But Islam isn't the only religion that devalues their women, though they do it to a far greater extent.

LMC: I agree. It actually turns my stomach, how women are treated and perceived and I don't consider myself a feminist. I remember how harrowing "Not without My Daughter" was. I assume the man is Muslim. Did she convert?

ANGEL: I still disagree with segregation, because I believe that it is within *our* control to reign in our emotions. We might fall for someone but it is a choice to follow through with those feelings. And esp. if they purport to be such spiritually enlightened beings, then they should def. have self-control. Just my 2 cents. Missed ya too. :-)

OPAL: I don't either Opal. You wonder where all the feminists in this country are when they say nothing about the Honor Killings etc. that happen.

Little Miss Chatterbox said...

No, she didn't convert but she tries to justify that there isn't much difference between Islam and Christianity.