The Ministry of Labor’s call to replace all male staff in lingerie shops with female staff has increased the employment of women in the Kingdom.
Six months after the law was enforced, the Kingdom has now entered the second phase of the new rulings, in which all women’s cosmetics and beauty shops are mandated to be staffed exclusively by women.
Lamya Al-Dosari has been working as a saleswoman in a cosmetics store in the Kingdom Tower in Riyadh for the past three months. In an interview with Al-Watan, she said, “The work is easy and I faced no obstacles, neither in my working hours and required duties nor in society’s response to this line of work. My family and social circle are all very comfortable and supportive of my work, especially because my job ensures that I will be in direct contact and dealing only with other women, whether it is my boss, colleagues, or customers.”
Al-Dosari further added, “I attended a two-week training course on the basics of different beauty products and their uses, as well as some communication skills. I receive a monthly salary of SR4,000 which I believe is quite adequate.”
Nour, another saleswoman, is a university graduate who holds a part-time job at a cosmetics department store in Riyadh. For her, “The feminizing of cosmetics stores is a win-win situation. It provided employment for women who need the income, and female customers and shoppers are much happier too.
“Now conservative Muslim women have the chance to freely chat with the sales representative and ask her opinion and try on different lipsticks to see which color suits her best. Previously, with salesmen peering over our shoulders, it was not even possible for us to try on our make-up in the store.”
The feminizing of cosmetics stores has opened the doors not only to sales jobs but also to make-up artists and women who have a talent and an eye for beauty.
Seba Muhammad, a saleswoman in a cosmetics shop in Riyadh, has had a passion for make-up, mixing different colors, helping women highlight their positive facial features and discover their own beauty for years.
“Now I can finally work in a place that allows me to use my talent and to unleash my creativity,” said Seba who has a diploma from the French Academy of Cosmetology, which excites customers at the shop she works, as they feel they can obtain sound advice from her.
However, adherence to this new decree varies. In a number of well-known lingerie and beauty/cosmetic stores in Riyadh and other cities in the Kingdom, male personnel are still present despite the Ministry of Labor’s declaration to impose heavy fines on businesses which fail to follow the decree.
Reporters from local newspapers in the Kingdom toured several shops in major shopping centers and found that only a small percentage of the shops were fully staffed by women. Other stores have not hired women for administrative jobs, and a few shops remain where men still hold sales jobs. — SG