Saudi king bans male lingerie salesmen, in response to women’s embarrassment

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You don't usually find "Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah" and "lingerie" in the same sentence, but in this case you do. Responding to Saudi women's stated unease in purchasing undergarments from men, the king has fired a two-bird stone, making women more comfortable by banning male lingerie salesmen, and decreasing female unemployment in the kingdom, which currently hovers around thirty percent, at the same time.

Kudos to the king for making a smart economic decision while at the same time flouting the Wahhabi religious authority who, had they their druthers, wouldn't let women work at all. Fatima Garub, who started a Facebook campaign called "Enough Embarrassment," expressed her gratitude for the king's decree, which she believes will create thousands of jobs for Saudi women. She said, "From now, embarrassment will end. We thank the king who felt our problem and took the decision that we have been waiting for for a long time."

An economics professor in Jeddah named Reem Asaad began a campaign in 2008 calling for women to cater to other women in lingerie shops. In February of 2010, campaigners encouraged women to boycott male-staffed outlets for a period of two weeks. With the endorsement of Islamic scholars, they argued that women giving their measurements to strange men contradicted Muslim law. Religious police have said they don't have a problem with female employees… as long as they're working in women-only malls. Amidst the Arab Spring (and soon-to-be Arab summer), King Abdullah's surprising proclamation is a step in the right direction towards universal values.