Coming to Saudi Arabia: Women-Only City
Expected to open up more job opportunities for females
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2012 9:32 AM CDT
In this April 1, 2010, file photo, Saudi women attend the traditional Arda dance during the Janadriyah Festival of Heritage and Culture on the outskirts of the Saudi capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

(Newser) – Saudi Arabia is ready to provide more work opportunities for women, thus allowing them more financial independence—but it's not about to give up its rules about gender segregation, meaning that the job opportunities are coming in the form of a women-only industrial city. Saudi Arabia plans to build the first such city in Hofuf next year and follow that with several more, the Guardian reports.

The cities will be reserved for female entrepreneurs, employers, and employees in such fields as textiles, pharmaceuticals, and food-processing. Currently, women make up just 15% of the Saudi workforce, and most of those female employees work in women-only settings. The first female-only city is expected to create 5,000 jobs. Says an executive at the developer, Saudi Industrial Property Authority: "I'm sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, nature, and ability."