Saudi Gazette reports that the Jeddah Municipality’s efforts to establish formal, women-only markets is working, so far. While women have, since the time of the Prophet Mohammed, worked to sell their goods, the mixing of the sexes in marketplaces has become problematic of late. Now, by establishing kiosks set aside for use solely by female merchants, things are beginning to return to what they used to be.

Harassment by passing males is reported to still be a problem, but one that is controllable. Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, President of the Commission for Promotion for Virtue and Prevention of Vice, though, thinks more needs to be done to protect women.

Saudi women man kiosks in Bab Makkah
Fatima Muhammad | Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH —Saudi women are entering uncharted waters by setting up and manning their own kiosks in the city’s downtown area.

Following the decision allowing women to sell lingerie and make-up products, a 40-year-old woman who did not wished to be named, has stormed the male bastion at the Al-Shula’a market in Bab Makkah.

After setting up shop in this market three months ago, the owner is now employing females to market her goods — lingerie and makeup products. The women working at various booths in the market are of different age — from 40 to teens.

Though there’s the wide gap in age, there’s one thing that’s common among the females who are at these kiosks — all are conservatively dressed. They are veiled and wear abayas while displaying products or discussing matters with their male counterparts. The 40-year-old who opened her own kiosk to sell makeup products, is just happy that she made this move. Apart from working for herself, she is all praise for the environment in the market.

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