Saudi underwear overhaul

Saudi Arabia's Labor Ministry will conduct inspections to put lingerie back in the hands of women.

Sarah Elizabeth Richards
March 22, 2006 3:22AM (UTC)

In Saudi Arabia, men are not allowed to eat lunch in public with women to whom they're not related. Yet, for years, they have been able work the counters of lingerie shops -- asking for women's most intimate measurements and educating them on the finer points of different brands of bras and panties. But according to an article in today's Guardian, the Saudi government is now warning shop owners that they must replace all their male employees with women.

The move comes after a recent decree from the Saudi government that called for more jobs for women -- and after a survey found that only three of 247 lingerie and beauty product shops in the city of Jeddah currently employed them. The Saudi Labor Ministry says it will be conducting inspections and that the shops that fail to hire women will face fines.


Of course, once the women are behind the counter, men will no longer be allowed to enter the stores. Maybe it's time to check out the global shipping policies on

Sarah Elizabeth Richards

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist based in New York. She can be reached at

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