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Saudi Arabia plans women-only city

New project slated to create 5,000 jobs geared towards women, in effort to reach currently unemployed women seeking financial independence

Saudi arabia women 2011 6 25Enlarge
Saudi women gather in front of a carpet made of over 135,000 flowers at the Riyadh Spring Festival in the Saudi capital on April 15, 2011. (Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia has decided to approach the problem of women and Sharia law in a novel way: plans are afoot to construct an all-female city, geared towards working women, reported RT.com. 

The city is slated to be built in the eastern city of Hafuf, and is slated to create around 5,000 jobs in a variety of industries. Women will be in leadership roles. 

According to RT, the Saudi Industrial Property Authority, otherwise known as Modon, is behind the (rather inefficient-sounding) scheme, which hopes to finally use the capabilities of women to improve Saudi Arabia. 

Read more: Women of Saudi Arabia - National Geographic 

"I'm sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, their nature and their ability," said Modon deputy-director-general, Saleh Al-Rasheed, to Saudi paper al-Eqtisadiah, as reprinted in RT.  

According to Al Bawaba.com, plans are afoot to construct a second female-only industrial city in an yet-to-be-determined location. The website added that a recent poll found over 65 percent of working women in Saudi Arabia wanted to achieve greater financial independence.

Many also wanted to actually use their educational credentials - a serious concern for Saudi women, who graduate from university in ever-increasing numbers but find it difficult to find employment. 

Read more from GlobalPost: Saudi Arabia's Sarah Attar makes Olympic track history 

Al Arabiya news reported in June that over 78.3 percent of female university graduates were employed, a number that included 1,000 PHD holders. 

Al Arabiya reported that although Saudi women's participation in the workforce has leapt to 14.4 percent, from a mere 5.4 percent in 1992, it's still the lowest number in the Gulf region. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/middle-east/saudi-arabia/120811/saudi-arabia-plans-women-only-city