Saudi Arabia may be on the brink of becoming more progressive, as a city is being planned for women who may want to pursue careers outside the home. The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been asked to construct the city in order to allow women new opportunities.
Saudi Arabia has a reputation in the modern world for keeping women strictly within the confines of Shariah Law, which discourages women from working outside the home and is a deeply engrained tradition in the country. Shariah Law currently prevents women from having equal rights under the law; the new city would provide a significant step up.
"I'm sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, their nature and their ability," Modon's deputy director-general, Saleh al-Rasheed, told al-Eqtisadiah.
"We are now working on a second industrial city for women. We have plans to establish a number of women-only industries in various parts of the kingdom," al-Rasheed explained.
Right now women only make up 15 percent of the registered workforce, which shows the disparity between women and men. And women are still prohibited from driving and all political realms. King Abdullah created a stir when he announced that women will finally be allowed to run for election and fully participate in elections starting in 2015.
While these are certainly steps forward, one may wonder if the cities will actually welcome their female inhabitants. If women are unable to drive to the cities, they will definitely be at a disadvantage. Another factor is that in Shariah Law, the women are expected to stay at home, manage the household and be a mother to her children.
Women are slowly making progress, though, and are working to try and enter a more progressive society.