It appears that ministers in Saudi Arabia have been watching Federico Fellini’s City of Women. The Saudi government has resolved the conflict of having women in the workforce but not allowing them to intermingle with men. No, they have not granted equal rights. They are building them their own city.
The Saudis are building an industrial city that will allow only women. A female-only zone is scheduled to open in the Eastern Province city of Hofuf next year with other such zones planed for Riyadh, the capital.
Hofuf will have only women — some 5000 — working in the textile, pharmaceutical, and food-processing industries. The idea was put forward by women to allow them to work given the 78 unemployment rate (not surprising when you cannot come into contact with a non-relative male without facing public flogging). The government has assured that they will be staying “consistent with the privacy of women according to Islamic guidelines and regulations.” Of course, they will still have to ask a male relative to drive them to the city since women are still not allowed to drive in the Kingdom.
Here is what the Kingdom can expect: