Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - Segregation city: new Saudi industrial area is just for women

A women-only city is being built in Saudi Arabia in a bid to allow more females to pursue careers.

Today's news, tomorrow’s lesson - 13 August

Segregation city: new Saudi industrial area is just for women

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A women-only city is being built in Saudi Arabia in a bid to allow more females to pursue careers.

The city was the brainchild of a group of Saudi businesswomen, who hope to increase the number of female graduates entering the workplace. It is hoped the city will create around 5,000 jobs and attract 500 million riyals (around £84million) of investment.

While it is not illegal for women to work in the Arab state, it is estimated that females currently make up only 15 per cent of the workforce. Gender segregation is still commonplace throughout Saudi Arabia and there are very few mixed-gender workplaces.

The Saudi Industrial Property Authority (Modon) has been tasked with building the city and a spokesman estimated that it would be ready sometime next year.

Speaking to the Saudi newspaper al-Eqtisadiah, Modon’s deputy-general Saleh al-Rasheed said: “I am sure that women can demonstrate efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, their nature and their ability.”

The city is the first of a number of female-only cities planned throughout Saudi Arabia. The plans to build such cities form part of ongoing improvements to Saudi women’s rights that are continuing to take place.

From 2015, women will be allowed to vote in local elections and history was made at this year’s Olympics with the inclusion of two female athletes in the Saudi squad – the first women ever allowed to compete for the Arab nation.

However, Saudi Arabia’s strict adherence to Sharia law still limits women in many ways. Women are forbidden to drive and they are unable to leave the country without the permission of a male guardian or eat in restaurants without a male family member.

Questions for discussion

For primary:

  • If you could build your own city, what would it be like?
  • Should boys and girls do different things? Or should they be allowed to do the same things?

For secondary:

  • This story is about Saudi Arabia, but do you think that men and women are treated equally in our country?
  • What is the significance of Saudi women being allowed to take part in the Olympics for the first time?

Related resources

Is Saudi Arabia a developed country?

  • Explore the economics, environment and religious values of the country with this scheme of work.

Saudi Arabia: virtual visit

  • Explore the country’s customs and culture with these resources and plan.

Women’s history

  • Map the changes in women’s roles and rights across the globe with this collection of resources.

Islam and women

  • Compare stereotypes with religious teaching in this PowerPoint about women and the family.

Further news resources

First News front page

  • Help your pupils understand the features of the front page of a newspaper.

Write all about it

  • Get students creating their own news report with this step-by-step guide

What is the News?

  • A sociological and media perspective on what makes an event 'newsworthy'.

On the box

  • Help pupils to write their own TV news broadcast with this handy PowerPoint.

Structuring stories

  • A scheme of work to help students structure news stories.

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