Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 10 October 2015

Saudi women get to grips with bras

Published 25/06/2009

Bra-vo: campaign to lift ban on women selling underwear in Saudi Arabia is boosted
Bra-vo: campaign to lift ban on women selling underwear in Saudi Arabia is boosted

Using bras donated by Victoria's Secret employees, 26 women have completed the first course offered in Saudi Arabia on how to fit, stock and sell underwear.

Organisers hope the training will help boost a campaign to lift a ban on women selling underwear. The restrictions are ironic in a country that goes to great lengths to segregate the sexes.

The graduates, who were mostly Saudi, held a small ceremony at a college in Jiddah. Over 40 hours they learnt to overcome their embarrassment at doing bra fittings, deal with customer complaints and display the stock.

“It was a beautiful experience,” said one graduate, Faten Abdo.

“The most shocking thing for me was the bra sizes. We didn't know how to get proper measurements before.”

A group of Saudi women launched a campaign three months ago to boycott lingerie stores until they employed women.

Almost all stores are staffed by men. Those pushing for saleswomen in lingerie stores say they are tired of discussing intimate details with men.

They want a law that has been on the books since 2006 to be implemented which states that only female staff can be employed in women's clothing stores.

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