The battle for the equality of women is ongoing, and indeed, in certain pockets of the world, women are still highly misrepresented. The values in the Middle East see high unemployment levels for women, making it hard for them to cross cultural boundaries. However, one woman’s determination, courage and endurance has both named her one of the most powerful and influential women in the world and changed the ways of the workplace in Saudi Arabia.
Reem Assad has been crowned the 3rd most influential Arabian woman owing to her head strong efforts to reassert women. Previous values meant women were not allowed to work in retail, including lingerie shops which in more ways than one, are very intimate and private for us women. Therefore the fact that women were not allowed to work and sell their most private garments is simply absurd. “The way that underwear is being sold in Saudi Arabia is simply not acceptable to any population living anywhere in the modern world,” says Reem Assad. “You need to have some discussions regarding size, colour and attractive choices and you definitely don’t want to get into such a discussion with a stranger, let alone a male stranger. I mean this is something I wouldn’t even talk to my friends about.”
This powerful woman noted this needed to change and directed the ‘Lingerie Campaign’ which soon put these rights straight. With international press coverage and recognition, the campaign took the state by storm and last July, her campaign paid off when the Saudi Labour Ministry banned men from working in lingerie shops after a directive from King Abdullah – in an instant, creating 44,000 jobs for women.
The new law has instated that only women are allowed to work in lingerie shops, propelling the underwear industry further into the realms of success. Furthermore, the second stage of the law will slowly phase out all male shop owners and provide and extended 30,000 jobs for women.
“The concept of women selling women’s underwear to other women is so natural that any other option is just invalid.” Here at MSL we couldn’t agree more. Purchasing lingerie that makes you feel good should start from the moment you step foot in an underwear store, by making this possibility for every woman in the Middle East, it comes as no surprise that Reem Assad is at the top of the worlds most powerful Arabs list.