Saudi basketball team celebrates first anniversary of sports diplomacy project

Time: 06 February, 2020

Riyadh United and the Diplomats team celebrate their one year anniversary. (AN Photo)
  • Riyadh United has been holding regular games with the capital’s diplomatic community in a bid to promote the message of peace and understanding
  • The project was launched by co-founder of Riyadh United and Shoura Council member, Lina Al-Maeena, together with the Belgium Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dominique Mineur

RIYADH: A Saudi basketball team is celebrating a year of sporting diplomacy aimed at strengthening international relations.

Through a unique initiative, Riyadh United players have been holding regular games with the capital’s diplomatic community in a bid to promote the message of peace and understanding between nations through sport.

The project was launched last year in the city’s Diplomatic Quarter by co-founder of Riyadh United and Shoura Council member, Lina Al-Maeena, together with the Belgium Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dominique Mineur.

“It is an amazing initiative of women united together on a court, communicating in one language and collaborating for a healthier and happier lifestyle, while also activating one of the Vision 2030 goals of social empowerment,” said Al-Maeena.

The Kingdom aims to increase the population’s sports participation from 13 percent to 40 percent by 2030.

Mineur, captain of the Diplomats basketball team said: “We had the idea to join forces (with Al-Maeena) and have a team of diplomats against a team of Saudi ladies. It was a great idea.

“Sport is one the best ways to build bridges between people and nations. After one year of training between Saudi women and female diplomats, we look forward to many more years of friendly matches.”

The teams meet every two weeks, but plans are in the pipeline to set up weekly games.

Dalia Fatani, owner of art, craft and design Studio Lucha, and one of the first members to join the Riyadh United team, said: “The teams were established to build bridges between countries through sport, and also to strengthen our stamina as women. It gets us out, it gets us moving and we feel young again.”

Prof. Selwa Al-Hazzaa, head of the ophthalmology department at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Riyadh, was a guest of honor at the anniversary celebrations.

More women playing basketball, or other sports, would help to lower obesity levels and reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating diabetes, and it also highlighted the importance of exercise for a healthy lifestyle, said Al-Hazzaa. “You guys (the team members) are role models to these young girls.”

Fatani said that Al-Maeena and her husband, Obaid Madani, had first set up Jeddah United female basketball team 16 years ago to encourage more people to play her favorite sport.

“Riyadh United is the sister of Jeddah United and we started in 2011. We really did it because we played basketball in school, but we didn’t have the ability to find a place or a coach, or a team even.

“But eventually it worked out and since then we’ve played almost yearly. It is a magnificent feeling,” added Fatani. “It’s really about building more connections with people through sports.”

Foreign missions have praised the Riyadh initiative, and in a tweet the UK Embassy said: “To celebrate the first anniversary of the Diplomats and the Riyadh United women’s teams, we played basketball to strengthen relationships, develop sports skills and make new friends. Congratulations to all of you.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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KSA plans to be world’s most progressive golf destination

Time: 05 February, 2020

Saudi Arabia hopes to become the leading nation for golf. (File/Shutterstock)
  • The Kingdom plans to become the most innovative market in the sport within the next 10 years
  • The Kingdom is aiming to have up to 27,000 registered golfers

JEDDAH: With the conclusion of the European Tour event and the inauguration of the Saudi Golf Summit at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia is taking one of the most significant development moves in golf’s recent history.

The Kingdom plans to become the most innovative market in the sport within the next 10 years, said Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi.

“Golf isn’t just a game,” Al-Sorour told Arab News, “it is related to various sectors and it creates well-paid jobs that attract Saudis.”

He added that golf requires commitment, dedication, self-governance, etiquette and discipline and that due to these values, he wants golf “to become part of the fabric of modern Saudi Arabia.”

The Kingdom is aiming to have up to 27,000 registered golfers and to ensure that over one million Saudi nationals have actively tried golf.

Golf Saudi wants to inspire and provide opportunities to every player regardless of ability, status or gender.

To help develop national talents, the organization is working on establishing golfing camps for children with a minimum of one camp per week at each golf course, with each camp consisting of roughly 30 children.

In order to achieve its plan, Golf Saudi is working in collaboration with the public and private sector, “Partnership government ministries is fundamental for progress, we are working with the ministries of transportation, education, environment and communication,” Al-Sorour said.

Majed Al-Sorour, CEO of the Saudi Golf Federation and Golf Saudi said the Kingdom plans to become the most innovative market in the sport within the next 10 years. (AN Photo/Huda Bashata)

He continued: “We are working with giga projects and independent developers, so the nation’s golf portfolio will be stronger than ever.”

Golf Saudi has developed a tourism framework to align this strategy with tourism stakeholders in the country. Golf course development plans are reaching their latter stages at the Diplomatic Quarter in Riyadh and the Red Sea Project.

Moreover, other giga and mega projects in the Kingdom will also include golf facilities at Diriyah Gate and Neom.

Al-Sorour said that the national golf team is gradually improving, and he anticipated that it will be able to compete on a global level within five years: “Golfers need time for training to develop properly.”

Golf Saudi is collaborating with the Ministry of Education to include golf in the basic and higher education system.

“We cannot spread the game’s culture without cooperating with the education ministry,” said Al-Sorour.

“We are having constant meetings and trying to create a partnership to integrate golf in the school curriculum.

The European Tour event took concluded this year at KAEC’s award-winning Royal Greens Golf and Country Club. It has won a number of international awards recognizing the golf, clubhouse and luxurious facilities.

Anas Najmi, head of the quality of life sector in KAEC, told Arab News that the top factor of spreading any game is having the infrastructure and the right facilities.

“Everyone knows about golf as a widely spread game on a global level, we have tried over the past period to ensure that we have enough world-class infrastructure with the highest standards so we can host activities, tournaments and championships,” Najmi said.

KAEC, with its award-winning facilities and first-of-its-kind golf academy in the region, has been attracting more locals interested in playing golf.

“We see a trend of lots of students wanting to know more about golf and willing to learn and practice, it is a game for many ages,” Najmi told Arab News, adding: “We have a huge interest in helping visitors and golf enthusiasts.”

Naomi continued: “We are strategically positioned in the heart of a population of 10 million, the recently inaugurated train station connects the city to Jeddah, Madinah and Makkah within an hour.

“We get lots of delegations from universities and schools, both public and international.”

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Saudi businesswomen in Forbes Middle East top five

05/02/20

Samba Financial Group’s Rania Nashar, center, was ranked third on the Power Businesswomen in the Middle East list. (Supplied)

  • Rania Nashar, Sarah Al-Suhaimi and Lubna Olayan find special place in the list of exceptional businesswomen

JEDDAH: Saudis dominate the Top 10 of Forbes annual Power Businesswomen in the Middle East list, with three of the country’s biggest names in the top five.

Samba Financial Group’s Rania Nashar is ranked third on the list, followed by Tadawul’s Sarah Al-Suhaimi and Saudi British Bank’s Lubna Olayan.

On the cusp of International Women’s Day next month, Forbes Middle East has unveiled its annual Power Businesswomen in the Middle East list, packed with 100 exceptional businesswomen at the head of many of the most influential and transformational companies in the region.

In the 2020 list, there are 22 new entries and 23 nationalities represented across 28 sectors. Emiratis are the most prevalent nationality with 23 entries. There are also nine Egyptians, eight Lebanese and eight Omani women.

The Forbes list was constructed via nominations and through in-depth research based on criteria including the size of the businesses that these women head, their accomplishments over the past year, the initiatives that they champion, and their overall work experience.

The majority (79) of the 100 women are self-made, 16 of whom have started their own businesses. And 21 women work in their family businesses, with many of them starting out when it was rare to find women in the workplace. There are 21 women from the banking and financial services sector, including four from stock exchanges and financial regulators.

FASTFACT

In the 2020 list, there are 22 new entries and 23 nationalities represented across 28 sectors. Emiratis are the most prevalent nationality with 23 entries. There are also nine Egyptians, eight Lebanese and eight Omani women.

The public sector is also well represented, with 13 women on the list heading government organizations, including Director General of Smart Dubai Aisha Bin Bishr, who is overseeing Dubai’s digital transformation. Sarah Al-Suhaimi chairs Tadawul, the region’s biggest stock exchange, which recently handled the IPO of the world’s most valuable company, Aramco.

Half of the list head large corporations, including Nadia Al-Saeed, who runs Jordan’s fourth biggest lender, Bank al Etihad, and Pakinam Kafafi, CEO of Egyptian energy company, Taqa Arabia, who is the only female leader in the oil and gas sector on the list.

The Middle East’s outstanding female leadership was reflected internationally in 2019 when Forbes’ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women featured three women from this region — who now make up the top three. Raja Al Gurg (#84 on the Forbes list) manages her family’s business, which was first founded by her father. Indian national Renuka Jagtiani (#96 on the Forbes list) has built a retail empire in the UAE. And Rania Nashar (#97 on the Forbes list) became the first female CEO of Samba Financial Group in 2017, Saudi Arabia’s fourth-biggest bank by assets.

“These Arab women are not only driving economic growth in the region, but they are also representative of the Middle East’s strong female leadership and influence across all areas of life, from e-commerce to financial services,” said Khuloud Al-Omian, editor in chief of Forbes Middle East.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia rights workshop confronts child abuse

04/02/20

Dr. Awwad Al-Awwad
  • Al-Awad stressed that the Kingdom has made great progress at the international level in the protection of childhood

RIYADH: The President of the Human Rights Commission Awad Al-Awad has affirmed that sexual harassment against children constitutes a grave violation of their rights and is a perverted practice criminalized by Islamic law and international law.

He called for intensified efforts and joint action at the family, community and institutional levels to enhance awareness of its risks and negative impacts. This came in a speech yesterday during a workshop organized by the commission in Riyadh, with the participation of a number of relevant authorities, civil society institutions and specialists.

Al-Awad stressed that the Kingdom has made great progress at the international level in the protection of childhood. He added that Saudi Arabia has taken many measures to strengthen the relevant regulatory and institutional frameworks.

Dr. Nadia Nusair, a family psychological counsellor, said: “Sexual harassment is a worldwide phenomenon that exists in both Arab and Western countries, but with different scales in each country.”

Psychological analysis of offenders shows that they tend to be unstable and psychopathic.

The harasser is usually a family member or a person who is well-known to the child.

Al-Awad stressed the need to work in line with the state’s policies related to child protection.

He added that the commission aimed, through the workshop, to find new mechanisms to confront child abuse.

The commission aims to achieve an effective partnership between government agencies and civil society institutions that deal with children.

It is also developing a joint action plan and new tools to report harassment.

The commission is looking to improve the quality of assistance and support provided to victims’ families in the legal, psychological and medical experience, as well as finding the right means to reintegrate victims into schools.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi female bikers get ready to hit the road

03/02/20

The institute is the first school in Saudi Arabia to offer motorbike training, not only to men but for women who have a passion for motorcycles. (Photos/Supplied)
  • 43 women have enrolled in training courses organized by Ukrainian instructor in Riyadh

RIYADH: Although women drivers have become a common sight on the Kingdom’s streets, women bikers are rarely seen.

Contrary to common belief, riding a motorcycle is not that different to driving a car — regardless of gender — except that motorcycles give a sense of empowerment, freedom and an adrenaline rush. Some people believe that women motorcyclists are better equipped to ride motorbikes than their male counterparts because they drive more cautiously and strictly follow traffic rules.
Elena Bukaryeva, the experienced Ukrainian instructor based at the Riyadh-based Bikers Skill Institute, is the only trainer for women bikers in the Kingdom.
The institute is the first school in Saudi Arabia to offer motorbike training, not only to men but for women who have a passion for motorcycles.
Their specially designed courses for both beginners and advanced riders focus on safety, such as the Basic Motorcycle Riding, Smart Riding, Top Gun, Motogymkhana, Off-Road Trainings and Kids Motorcycle Schools courses, with fees ranging from SR750 ($200) to SR1,500.
“So far, 43 women bikers belonging to different nationalities — almost 20 of them Saudis, the rest Egyptians, Lebanese etc and even Europeans living in the Kingdom — have enrolled in our training courses after the ban on women driving was lifted,” Bukaryeva said.
The courses comply with international standards and consist of theoretical lessons to learn the basics of safety, teaching bikers to anticipate and manage risks, and include introductory information about motorbikes.
Bukaryeva said that the field training consisted of everything from gear shifts to emergency stops, U-turns and cornering.
The school generally trains on small motorcycles so that learners will be able to ride any type of bike. The duration of the course “depends on the time it takes each trainee to learn and master all the skills needed,” Bukaryeva said.
“The challenges and obstacles faced are only educational, based on the trainee’s commitment and understanding of the trainer’s instructions. However, there are no challenges related to harassment or honking of cars or bullying,” Bukaryeva said. “In fact, Saudi society has proved its ability to adapt and accept what’s new and useful. Ladies actually get full support and assistance, especially from male bikers.”
While Saudi women are building their skills at the Bikers Skills Institute, women bikers on the Kingdom’s roads are still a rare sight. “We don’t expect any increase in number, especially because women form only 3 percent of bikers in the world,” Bukaryeva said.
Bukaryeva said that the traffic department office had not yet issued licences for women bikers. “Our motorcycle training courses do not include obtaining the riding licence. Some eager trainees go to neighboring countries such as Bahrain to get their licence,” she said.

This article was first published in Arab News

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First W20 meeting kicks off in Riyadh

Time: 30 January, 2020 

Recommendations and policies relating to the economic empowerment of women were reviewed.
  • 28 delegates from 12 countries attend, with focus on women’s empowerment

RIYADH: The first session of the Women 20 (W20) took place at the headquarters of the nonprofit women’s empowerment organization Al-Nahda in Riyadh on Jan. 27-28.

The meeting included 28 delegates from 12 countries, including Saudi Arabia, which this year became the first Arab nation to take over the G20 presidency.

“Some countries couldn’t attend in person but participated online, such as Indonesia, France and Korea,” said Salma Al-Rashid, Saudi Arabia’s W20 representative.

She stressed the importance of 25-25, a goal that G20 countries have committed to in order to reduce the gender gap in labor participation by 25 percent by 2025.

Saudi Arabia’s W20 Chair Thoraya Obaid and Fahad Almubarak, the Kingdom’s G20 representative since 2018, stressed the W20’s independence from governments and explained the importance of the outcomes of these meetings.

They reviewed recommendations and policies relating to the economic empowerment of women, and stressed that women are at the heart of the G20 agenda for this year.

W20 achievements are based on the G20’s three goals: Empowering people, preserving the planet and forming new horizons, all of which are under the slogan “Realizing Opportunities of the 21st Century for All.”

The W20 delegates agreed on four themes: Technical inclusion of women, economic inclusion of women, their inclusion in work and in leadership positions. Empowering women in the field of entrepreneurship was an integral part of the four themes.

Member states are required to submit periodic reports on the implementation of the decisions adopted regarding the economic empowerment of women.

National dialogues discussing women’s issues are to be held in three Saudi cities, starting with Riyadh at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University on Feb. 3.

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SEA 2020 brings the best of global entertainment to KSA

Time: 30 January, 2020 

dmg events launched the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement expo in April 2019.

Saudi Arabia’s announcement to invest $64 billion into developing its entertainment industry over the next decade as part of Vision 2030 has energized the sector as the Kingdom follows its planned social and economic reform programs spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

In line with the Kingdom’s zealous plans, dmg events launched the Saudi Entertainment and Amusement (SEA) expo in April 2019 in Jeddah and interest in the event has almost doubled in size this year with the event due to be held from Feb. 3 to 5 at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center.

Nathan Waugh, portfolio director at dmg events, said that dmg events got SEA out to the market at a time when the entertainment and leisure sector in Saudi Arabia is blossoming with the aim to make the country a leisure destination not just locally but globally. “From a start of practically zero, there are things like cinemas booming across the country, concerts, sporting events and other entertainment complexes, so the focus is there on getting the big banner attractions. Relaxing social rules, especially for women, and encouraging entertainment and leisure activities is helping hugely, moving the country toward modernization. All this puts us in a great position to bring international businesses that are looking at Saudi Arabia as a new and thriving market.”

Ready for its second edition, SEA expo has achieved 75 percent growth overall and the number of exhibitors has increased by 30 percent. The reach for exhibitors is global, with companies from the US and peaked interest from Europe, particularly from Italy. There’s also a delegation from the UK’s Department of Trade and Industry taking part along with two other international pavilions. In total there are exhibitors from 23 different countries. A growing list of exhibitors including Whitewater, Ropes Courses Inc., Polin, Warehouse of Games, Amusement Services International, Embed, IdeAttack, Vivaticket and Vortex is expected to increase visitor numbers this year from last year’s 4,000 plus.

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Saudi justice minister appoints first woman to senior position at alimony fund

Time: 29 January, 2020

Saudi Justice Ministry. (SPA)
  • More women are also working in the ministry’s digital transformation project, and in related fields such as computer science, software engineering and information systems

JEDDAH: The minister of justice and president of the Supreme Judicial Council, Walid bin Mohammed Al-Samaani, has ordered the appointment of Shorooq bint Mohammed Al-Jadaan as deputy director-general for alimony affairs. She is the first woman to assume a leading position at the alimony fund.
The fund aims to ensure alimony is paid to beneficiaries as quickly as possible, and help achieve a financial balance for families, in fulfillment of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan.
“This appointment is not surprising from a ministry and a country that has taken upon itself to ensure equity and empowerment for women in all governmental and private sectors,” said Saudi lawyer Nujood Qasim.
Such decisions strongly support efforts to raise the level of participation by women in the workforce, one of the goals of Vision 2030, by providing a wider range of career options and encouraging them to play a bigger role in the development of the country, Qasim added.
The second phase of the alimony fund was launched in November 2019. It has achieved a number of successes since its inception, in particular improving the speed of responses to requests and communication with applicants and beneficiaries through its online platform.
It has also reduced the time taken from final approval of applications to the payment of alimony, which can now be done in a matter of hours.
The Ministry of Justice has implemented a number of initiatives in the past few years to increase the number of female employees and improve their representation in promoted positions. In late 2017, it started to provide special sections for women in courts around the country and appoint female notaries. Previously it was rare for women to work in courts.
Women can now work as social researchers and administrative assistants. More women are also working in the ministry’s digital transformation project, and in related fields such as computer science, software engineering and information systems.
In addition, there has been a huge increase in the number of registered female lawyers, from only 10 in 2013 to 487 by November last year.

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Sarah Ayed Al-Ayed, Chief Strategy Officer of Trans Arabian Creative Communication Services

Time: 29 January, 2020

Sarah Ayed Al-Ayed
  • She is one of the leading female Arab PR figures, and one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent and successful businesswomen

Sarah Ayed Al-Ayed is the Chief Strategy Officer of Trans Arabian Creative Communication Services (TRACCS), a network that serves a growing portfolio of clients across the Gulf region that was launched in Jeddah in 1998.
Al-Ayed set up TRACCS with her brother, building it from the ground up. Today, it is one of the largest public relations (PR) businesses in Saudi Arabia, operating with world-renowned corporations as well as governments, banks and other entities.
She is one of the leading female Arab PR figures, and one of Saudi Arabia’s most prominent and successful businesswomen.
Al-Ayed received her bachelor’s degree in 1997 in English literature and linguistics from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah, later obtaining executive education certification in 2015 from Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in the US.
She held the position of operations manager and associate director at TRACCS until 2009, having become a managing partner in 2006. In 2010 she was appointed director of strategy, before later rising to her current position of chief strategy officer.
In 2012, she launched an enterprise initiative, the Art of Business Communication, which seeks to expand accessibility into the field of communications for young people.
In March 2013, Al-Ayed was named by Forbes as one of the most influential women in business in the Arab world. In 2015 she became regional ambassador in the Middle East and North Africa for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day, and a board member at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2019. Her Twiter handle is @Sarah_AlAyed.

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Tearing down the wall: Saudi restaurants adjust to the abolishment of gender segregation

28/01/20

Segregation boards, such as this one pictured in a McDonald’s restaurant in Riyadh in 2004, are no longer required under Saudi law. (AFP)

New law urges restaurants to remove segregation in entrance and separate seating arrangements
Many restaurants have already begun to implement the law, but others stubbornly refuse
RIYADH: Saudi diners are still chewing over the Kingdom’s move to end the long-standing legal requirement for restaurants to have separate entrances for males and families.

As a result of reforms — involving 103 rules and regulations, manuals, models, and standards aimed at making life easier for citizens and visitors — men and women no longer have to enter restaurants through separate doors.

Naif Al-Otaibi, general manager of public relations and media at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, said gender-segregation was now a matter of choice.

“It’s optional. We did not specify the number of entry points, so the investor is free to have multiple entry points and segregate (males from females) in their restaurant,” he told Arab News.

Many restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including American coffee chain Starbucks, typically have separate sections for families (women on their own or accompanied by men) and males.

The AlShaya Group, operator of Starbucks, The Cheesecake Factory and P.F. Chang’s among others, has said it will end gender segregation in stores and eateries that were opened before the new rule came into effect.

“We at Alshaya are planning to transform the old stores’ designs following the new desegregation law, but that will take place over the course of the next two years,” the company told Arab News.

An employee at one of Starbucks’ gender-segregated outlets said maintenance contractors had recently conducted an inspection of the site with a view to commencing remodeling work. “They will take out the wall that separates the male area from the families section,” the staff member told Arab News.

“They will also remove the signs at the entry points that say, ‘families’ and ‘males’ and merge the two separate sections.”

Just a few years ago all of this was unthinkable in a very different Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom had a strict policy of not allowing women to dine in a restaurant without a mahram (male guardian). They would be turned away if they did not comply with the rule.

Recalling an incident that happened 20 years ago, “D.K.,” a 37-year-old Saudi woman who wished to remain anonymous, said she found herself inside one of the white vehicles belonging to the religious police whose official job description was the “prevention of vice and promotion of virtue.”

She had been dining with her friends at a McDonald’s restaurant without a mahram.

But D.K. is amazed by the changes that have taken place since, and said the ending of gender segregation in restaurants was a huge step forward for the Kingdom.

She praised King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for advancing women’s empowerment by increasing their employment opportunities, enhancing the quality of their social life and expanding their personal freedoms.

While these steps might seem unimpressive to the average person in the West, cumulatively they were opening up the Kingdom in a big way, D.K. told Arab News, though she admitted that some conservative sections of Saudi society still wished to see the continuation of gender segregation in restaurants.

However, most restaurant owners were eager to move with the changing times.

Al-Amin Mahmoud, a 35-year-old father-of-four from Madinah, takes his family every weekend to a different restaurant. While in Jeddah on a short vacation, he faced a problem when he discovered that some restaurants did not have separate sections for males and families.

“I respect that decision, but I did not feel comfortable. I knew that the decision had been implemented. However, for me, having grown up in a conservative family and society, it does not suit me,” he told Arab News.

Father-of-three Habib Saleh, 41, said that businesses had the option to accept or reject the gender-desegregation decision.

“This is akin to the decision to ban sheesha from restaurants. Many people objected, saying smoking sheesha was the main reason they frequented the restaurants in the first place. Some restaurants who implemented the rule naturally lost regular customers, which affected their revenue,” he added.

Saleh pointed out that when considering applying the new rules, some business owners faced the same dilemma of having to be prepared to lose some customers.

“It will take time before people get used to it. Of course, people will either reject it or be suspicious about it at first. And we have to keep in mind that some of the people who are objecting to this decision do not mind eating in mixed restaurants when they are abroad. So, there is some amount of contradiction.

“We have to remember that the segregation rule was in force for more than 30 years, so don’t think that people will accept it quickly,” he said.

For his part, Abdulrahman Al-Harbi, an architect, believes implementing the desegregation law will improve the bottom lines of restaurants in Saudi Arabia.

Al-Harbi said not only would managing a restaurant become easier but construction bills would also shrink. “I prefer open spaces. A good designer can provide clever privacy solutions to customers in different ways.

“If we want to call ourselves a civilized society, we must get used to a mixed-gender environment,” he added.

Abdul Aziz Al-Qahtani, the owner of Bicicleta Coffee Shop in Riyadh, said that since opening a new branch in the capital’s U Walk, only one cashier counter was required.

“We had customers coming in and asking for separate sections, but we have to keep pace with development,” he said. “This change in the law has reduced costs in many areas for us. Now we don’t need two cashiers to serve a family section and a male section.

“We also don’t have to have large spaces any more to be able to divide it up into two sections.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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