IN THE NEWS: An All Women’s City in Saudi Arabia – Liberating or Continuing the Cycle?


It was recently reported that Saudi Arabia will develop a women’s only city in order to allow career oriented women to pursue work while abiding by the countries Islamic laws. While work for women is not outlawed by Sharia Law, currently only 15% of the workforce is made up of women in Saudi Arabia.  This new municipality will produce women run firms and production lines and will create a total of 5000 new jobs.   

According to Samar Fatany, the plan for the new all women’s city is one that offers empowerment and liberation for women.  She states that the opportunity to work will also offer economic independence.  However, others have claimed that this plan will lead to Jim Crow like segregation rather than liberation.

Although reports on the all women’s city was reported in mid-August, it seems a necessary topic for discussion for FAR.  Please weigh in and share your thoughts.  Does the city offer opportunities for women to achieve career goals and financial independence or does it reinforce the patriarchal system by separating women from men and refusing the possibility of success in non-segregated areas?

Please see the additional links below for further information.

No man’s Land

Saudi Arabia Is Planning All-Female Cities So Women Can Work

Coming to Saudi Arabia: The World’s First Women Only City



Categories: General

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4 replies

  1. believe me us “Saudi women” would love to be separated from men as the majority of them slack off when asked to do their duties… If there was an all women city their full potentials will be reached (although many men would hate to give up their free maids so It is kind of impossible to imagine men accepting such a city to exist)

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  2. Perhaps an all-women’s city can function in the same way that all women’s schools function in the US–at least conceptually. “Women-only” education can give women a space, free or mostly free from the constraints of patriarchy, where women can grow and develop, becoming empowered human beings. The best scenario would be that an all-women’s city will bridge the gap until a future time when it will not be necessary. Thing is, many people (both women and men) don’t see a need to go beyond sex segregation. Will an all-women’s city enable folks to see? Perhaps.

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  3. From my dissertation research on Nazi Germany many years ago, I believe that these new women’s cities in Saudi Arabia will create contradictions and conflicts that the Saudi princes don’t foresee. Of course, this is no feminist change, nor was the Nazi creation of separate spheres for men and women. Saudi Arabia will remain politically and socially a top-down patriarchy. But when women were given their own “sphere” by the misogynist Nazi leadership, it created greater initiative and greater independence among the women and girls who participated — women became leaders of their own organizations, and that made them more likely to believe in themselves; girls got out from under the strict patriarchal influence of their German pater familias and started to take greater initiative. The Nazi period only lasted 12 years, so, thank heaven, we don’t know what outcomes these contradictions in women’s situation would have led to. But as a radical feminist who advocated (and still advocates, in certain situations) for women’s space, I know how empowering it can be.

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  4. Sometimes women have to have their own space to grow into the pioneers and leaders of other women.. especially in such a strictly patriarchal society. As a feminist from the ’60s to this day, I realize how utterly shackled a woman can be trying to break out of an impossible cocoon to become the strong butterfly who can change her world. Doing historical research for my book, “The Holy Spirit – She Is With Us”, I found just how the religious patriarchy can, and has, overpowered and relegated women in a religious scenario effectively invisible. I must say Kudos! to the Saudi princes on this first step for women in their country, albeit possibly imperfect…. but it is an historic first step! Prayers go out for them and for these strong women!

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