x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

28,000 women apply for lingerie jobs as Saudi Arabia applies law

The law, which came into force 2006, will be applied on Thursday, but Saudi's senior cleric says it contradicts Islamic law.

RIYADH // Saudi Arabia has said only females can work in women's lingerie stores from Thursday.

The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly due to hardliners oppose the whole idea of women working where men and women congregate together, like malls.

The labour ministry said that over 28,000 women have already applied for the sales jobs.

In June, King Abdullah issued a decree limiting work in lingerie shops to Saudi women only in a bid to reduce high female unemployment in the kingdom.

Saudi's most senior cleric, Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, spoke out against the decision in a recent sermon, saying it contradicts Islamic law.

“The employment of women in stores that sell female apparel and a woman standing face to face with a man selling to him without modesty or shame can lead to wrongdoing, of which the burden of this will fall on the owners of the stores,” he said, urging store owners to fear God and not compromise on taboo matters.