Saturday, September 01, 2012

Saudi Woman Wants Separate Beaches For Women

Lina Almaeena is a Saudi woman who founded the Jeddah United basketball team. She also happens to be its captain. Pretty progressive for a woman living in a country that frowns on female athletes. But she also wants separate beaches for women. In an opinion piece on Al Arabiya, Almaeena claims that a disproportionate amount of women drown in the Kingdom- usually 18 to 28 year-old women, and 70% of those drownings occur at night during the holidays. Why? Because they don't want men staring at their bodies, even though they make burqinis that they could easily wear.

According to Khaled al-Arkoubi, a spokesperson for the border guards:

“when swimming, some women hit rocks due to the blurry vision at night. Some are attacked by sea animals or suffer nausea and fainting. Moreover, most of women swim in their abayas (black cloak traditionally worn by women in the Gulf) and veils which are not appropriate for swimming and impede the body movement in water. The cloak might get wrapped around her body which might suffocate her and prevent her from screaming and calling for help. Thus, women may drown or even die. And since these incidents happen at night, it is difficult to spot them.”

So, Almaeena proposes this:

..we should find solutions to protect them and give them a chance to benefit from the beauty of nature that God has bestowed on us.
Since we have separated men from women in education facilities, banks and restaurants, why don’t we do the same with beaches? Why don’t we give women the chance to swim by appointing female lifeguards and supervisors? Why don’t we organize swimming lessons so that women can teach their children how to swim while their husbands are at work?
If we undertake these measures, we would create a new sector for employment and put at the hands of women the swimming technique that could help them survive in certain conditions (like the Jeddah floods for example). At the same time we would sprinkle happiness on the souls of our girls and women so that happiness does not become the privilege of those who can afford buying or renting a beach cabin or chalet.
Just like any other women, I wish I could swim in women-only beaches. Women-only beaches are likely to boost local tourism and reduce the reliance on foreign touristic destinations that are pulling millions of riyals per year outside of the Kingdom. All of this can be done if we invest in women-oriented sectors.

Why don't they just create a separate city for all Muslim women who want to be segregated from the male population? Or maybe move to a different planet. Oh wait, women need men to procreate.  If God had wanted men and women to be segregated He would have created just males or females and the ability to bear children without the need for someone of the opposite sex.

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