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Ban on women entering a Starbucks store in Riyadh is latest in long line of restrictions

 

 

Men and women are segregated in the majority of public spaces in Saudi Arabia, with the Muslim kingdom’s religious police ensuring the rules are enforced.

Unlawful mixing between sexes leads to the arrest of the violators and criminal charges, political scientist Elham Manea writes for Deutche Welle.

Saudi Arabia’s human rights record, especially with regards to protecting women, has often been called into question.

Most recently women in Saudi Arabia claim to have been temporarily banned from entering a branch of Starbucks in the capital Riyadh.

A sign was placed in the window of the coffee shop saying: Please no entry for ladies only send your driver to order thank you, after a wall designed to segregate men and women was reportedly removed during renovations.

A customer who tweeted a picture of the sign, which was written in English and Arabic, said the store refused to serve me just because I’m a woman and asked me to send a man instead.

Although women’s rights have been incrementally extended in recent years – they were allowed to vote in municipal elections for the first time last year – their actions are still severely restricted.

Women have been elected to municipal councils in Saudi Arabia for the first time, in ballots held on Saturday. At least 18 women from very different parts of the country have been elected, according to Al Jazeera.

The elections were the first time women were allowed to stand for office or vote, after a ban was lifted by King Abdullah shortly before his death last year.

Officials said that about 130,000 women had registered to vote in what was only the third time Saudis of either gender have gone to the polls in the country’s history.

In a country where a woman cannot even open a bank account without her husband’s permission, click to page 2 to discover other things women in the Muslim kingdom are still unable to do.

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