JAFFA, Israel – The Saudi Ministry of Labor has come under fire for a recent resolution encouraging women’s employment in the hotel industry.
In light of the kingdom’s sagging economy, the ministry has sought to lower unemployment by replacing migrant workers with local ones, including women. The program was met with strong opposition from conservatives.
The ministry called on men to hold jobs in the industry until women’s employment is regulated.
Using the hashtag #labor_ministry_honor_our_women_red_line, conservative twitterati claimed that hotels were a “suspicious work environment” because they are often the site of “gender mixing,” which is a transgression according to Saudi and Sharia law.
However, they insisted that their objection applies to the hospitality sector specifically, not to women’s employment per se.
“It started with men working in lingerie shops and now continues with women working in hotels,” wrote Awad Shihri.
بدأ الأمر بالتباكي على بيع الرجال للملابس الداخلية النسائية
فتوسع الأمر حتى وصل الأمر لكي تعمل بالفنادق
— د. عوض أحمد الشهري (@awadshihri) March 14, 2016
Sefa commented that the wife of such a person would probably not be employed in a hotel. “If he had any respect for women, he wouldn’t make them work in this job,” he added.
لم يكن عادل الفقيه شاملاً لقراراته ولم تكن نساءه هن العاملات فل يكن من يكون،لو توجد لديه غيره لم يضعهن بكذاوظ #ياوزاره_العمل_اعراضنا_خط_احمر
— سـيييـف (@Sefal3nze) March 16, 2016
Some of the critics were women. “There’s a big difference between empowering women through employment and humiliating her under the same banner,” Taghreed wrote.
هناك فرق بين أن نعلي من شأن المرأة السعودية بالعمل .. وبين أن نهينها بإسم العمل ..!
— تغريد الطاسان (@taghreed_i_t) March 15, 2016
Abdel Rahman embedded a video of his female colleague being harassed, adding: “The guilt for what this honorable woman went through lies with whoever made her work in a mixed environment, God forbid.”
Nayef Alsahfe called on the minister of labor: “Will your excellency allow your daughter to leave the house at a late hour and work with men?”
— نايف الصحفي (@alsahfe2) March 14, 2016
Others, like Dr Ibrahim Almushigh, didn’t understand what the fuss was all about. “Our society has so many red lines!” he wrote.
ما أكثر الخطوط الحمر في مجتمعنا.#ياوزاره_العمل_اعراضنا_خط_احمر
— د.ابراهيم المشيقح (@d_almushigh) March 16, 2016