Saturday, June 16, 2012

Ulla Popken: "Family Only"


There are many European companies that have outlets in Jeddah. Ulla Popken in the Mall of Arabia offers clothing for plus sized women. If you look closely you can see signs on either side of the entrance that say "Family Only" in both English and Arabic. New laws in Saudi Arabia are being enforced requiring shops that cater to female clientele, such as lingerie, make-up, and women's clothing, to replace their previously all-male work force with female sales clerks. Businesses have until a certain date to comply, and many have already made the switch. Personally I see this as a huge victory for women in this country. Women began a highly publicized movement boycotting lingerie shops for a certain period of time for several years. It was one of those nonsensical things in this society which had previously forced Saudi women into the uncomfortable and humiliating position of having to purchase undergarments from male sales clerks. I had written several posts about the stupidity of this policy, so I, for one, am elated when I see shops with these "Family Only" signs, which signal that there are female employees in the shop and that single male customers are not allowed.


6 comments:

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

I guess this counts as progress but only because the situation in Saudi Arabia is so strange. Saudi customs make sense when you understand that the only institutions in the country were the mosque and the tribe. Even today there is no standard codified law. People were largely illiterate only 2 generations ago. Saudi Arabia needs to move from a tribal culture to an urban one if it is to succeed in the 21st century.

Jerry Mc Kenna said...

One comment not really about the article itself but about search engines and google in particular. I was curious as to what Ulla Popken was and lo and behold, google is giving me ads from that company. (Yes I visited their website.) I have disabled the ad content for now (found out that google assumes I am over 65). Between facebook and google I really hate some online companies.

I know this is not relevant to your article but it is curious that the one post you do about a company that I might buy from and wammo google drowns me in ads.

Susie of Arabia said...

Considering that when I moved here in 2007, I rarely saw a woman working ANYwhere, this really is progress. I'm delighted to see women working in grocery stores and many shops in the malls now. It was creepy before, with males sales clerks everywhere. Much more comfortable now for me as a female shopper.

Susie of Arabia said...

Yes, that does happen to me too when I visit retail outfits online. I'll be bombarded with their ads for quite a afterward unless I disable that feature. Sorry, Jerry!

Amy said...

Progress! All good.

Nathalie said...

Despite being a long-term reader of your blog and being familiar with the female sales clerk issue I wouldn't have had a clue that "family only" meant a female sales clerk was at hand.

Great news anyway, I'm really pleased!