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Saudi Arabia ends gender-segregated entrances for restaurants

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Saudi Arabia ends gender-segregated entrances for restaurants

By Stephen Kalin

 

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FILE PHOTO: Women sit among men in a newly opened cafe in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, August 2, 2019. REUTERS/ Hamad I Mohammed/File Photo

 

RIYADH (Reuters) - Restaurants in Saudi Arabia will no longer need to maintain entrances segregated by sex, the authorities said on Sunday, further eroding some of the world's strictest social rules as sweeping reforms take hold.

 

Previously, Saudi Arabia required all restaurants to have one entrance for families and women, and another for men on their own. The ministry of municipalities and rural affairs announced on Twitter this would no longer be mandatory.

 

Unrelated men and women have for decades been barred from mixing in public places under strict social rules once enforced by hardline clerics and the religious police.

 

But Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has brought the religious establishment to heel -- partly by arresting critics -- and eased other restrictions, including bans on women driving and public entertainment.

 

Segregation has quietly eased over the past year or so, as eateries, cafes, conference centres and concert halls stopped strictly enforcing it.

 

A spokesman for the ministry contacted by Reuters did not specify whether segregated seating areas inside restaurants would also be eliminated.

 

The new rules are not compulsory, meaning restaurants could still maintain separate entrances if owners choose to do so, he said.

 

There was no announcement of changes to other public establishments, such as schools and hospitals, which appear likely to remain segregated for now.

 

Saudi Arabia, one of the world's most gender-segregated nations, has also been chipping away at a guardianship system which requires all women have a male relative's approval for important decisions, though some key restrictions remain.

 

Social openness has been accompanied by a crackdown on dissent that has seen the arrests of dozens of clerics, intellectuals and activists, including women who had campaigned for some of the freedoms that have lately been granted.

 

It has also raised concerns about a possible backlash by conservatives, though there has so far been little concrete pushback.

 

The crown prince, 34, is the heir to the Saudi throne and de facto ruler. If and when he replaces his father, King Salman, he would be the first Saudi monarch from a new generation after a succession of six brothers that have ruled since 1953.

 

Prince Mohammed's reputation in the West as a bold reformer suffered after the murder of U.S.-based Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed by Saudi agents last year inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate.

 

(Reporting by Stephen Kalin; Editing by Peter Graff)

 

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-- © Copyright Reuters 2019-12-09
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3 hours ago, ivor bigun said:

What next ,gender neutral toilets ?😀

Just started building them in schools in Australia.

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Good, maybe they will end the all male goon squad also! Some day you will be murdered by a mixed gender team.

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it might be too much to ask for them to update, to swinging doors! 

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It'll be like the South of France in the middle east soon

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29 minutes ago, RobFord said:

I just came back from Vancouver after being away for six years and all the restaurants have “gender neutral” washrooms. This means everyone has their own toilet, and there isn’t any urinals. 
 

Which is great, because ( unlike you ) I don’t like standing next to swinging dicks.

I know it must be hard for you lot with small ones when you have to stand next to our large swinging ones .😄

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8 hours ago, webfact said:

Saudi Arabia ends gender-segregated entrances for restaurants

Do we have clear that this Muslim middle age law country is the best alley of US and all EU and US are in competitions to trade them guns and bombs ?
This is the so called western democracy !

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24 minutes ago, rhyddid said:

Do we have clear that this Muslim middle age law country is the best alley of US and all EU and US are in competitions to trade them guns and bombs ?
This is the so called western democracy !

Just because we trade with them, that doesnt give us the right to tell them what do within their own country .

  They sell us oil, does that give them the right to tell us how to behave in our own countries ?

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1 hour ago, sanemax said:

Just because we trade with them, that doesnt give us the right to tell them what do within their own country .

  They sell us oil, does that give them the right to tell us how to behave in our own countries ?

just because we now have significant proportions of muslim populations in non-muslim countries, we should focus our concerns on how Saudi-funded wahhabi schools and mosques challenge our democracies, and for the rest, as long as they keep their folklore within their borders, it's none of our business.       

Edited by Opl

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9 hours ago, ivor bigun said:

What next ,gender neutral toilets ?😀

We've had them in Finland since ca. 1500. About the same year as Saudis today.

 

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This is inaccurate. Most restaurants had separated dining areas, one for single or unaccompanied males the other for families and male/female couples but, usually a common entrance.

 

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