(MENAFN - Arab News) President of the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia) Abdul Latif Al-Asheikh has approved the procedures and regulations governing women's work in lingerie shops.
The Haia has also instructed its branch offices across the Kingdom to be vigilant that the privacy of working women is not violated.
Al-Asheikh said the move is in line with a royal decree guaranteeing Saudi women the right to work in a Shariah-compliant environment and also to support the efforts of the Ministry of Labor to solve women's unemployment.
Al-Asheikh directed the undersecretary for field affairs at the Haia headquarters to instruct all branch offices to strictly adhere to the regulations governing women's work. The branches will also have to submit periodic reports on their efforts to implement the regulations.
The regulations approved by the Haia stipulate that only Saudi women shall work in a lingerie shop. No man - including workers in other sections in a commercial complex - can enter that shop. The Haia's branch offices should monitor the workers' conduct and take steps if any violations were noticed.
In commercial centers the women's section should be independent and separate from the men's sections with a fixed partition of 160 cm high so that no one inside could be seen from outside. All women's sections should be as close to the gate of the commercial center as possible. Women workers should dress modestly. The women should not enter the warehouse or offices of the shop where male workers visit or are present, the Haia circular said.
Haia officials should monitor the conduct of workers in such shops and stop violations that fall under their authority. A supervisory committee under a woman director should be set up in all branches and field teams should identify the shops and commercial centers that come under their inspection authority, Al-Madinah daily reported on Saturday.
The chairperson of the National Women's Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce, Huda Al-Jeraisy, said the government's order to appoint only women in lingerie shops issued several months ago was not clear on its method of implementation.
The Ministry of Labor did not seek advice on lingerie shops in the private sector. This was another reason why the implementation of the order was delayed. Absence of support services such as transport and child care facilities was another reason why women could not work in shops. She also stressed the role of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation and other training institutes in preparing women to work in lingerie shops.
She added that campaigns against women's employment in lingerie shops were unjustified because a precondition for implementing the order is that owners should create a Shariah-complaint environment to suit women before women start working in their shops.
Sales women in lingerie shops enable Saudi women to buy undergarments without salesmen being present.
"The decision to permit women to work in lingerie shops is in line with the principles of Shariah because it helps women maintain their dignity and avoid embarrassing situations," she said.