Saturday, April 23, 2005

3 Saudi women 'defy' tradition - Khaleej Times
---QUOTE---
Three Saudi women — Ameera, Awatef and Amna — have valiantly withstood social stigmas and defied Saudi traditions to become waitresses in a five-star hotel in Jeddah. They are the first Saudi waitresses.

All three were students at Abdul Lateef Jameel (ALJ) Fund for Training and Development majoring in accommodation preparation.
...
They work on shifts for nine hours a day and have one day off. They have a good salary, health assurance, transportation and housing allowance, according to Arab News which interviewed the women.

Ameera has only completed intermediate school but took several English and computer courses.
"I have been looking for a job for seven years. Because I don't have a high school degree it was difficult for me to find a job. Even though I had an English and a computer diploma from a well-known learning centre, NewHorizen, but the diplomas were never taken into consideration when I applied for a job. I then heard of ALJ and enrolled in the accommodation training course."

"My father passed away when I was very young. My older brother raised me and has been a father to me since. He and my mom were very supportive and trusted that I would stick to my Islamic values no matter where I worked. This job is not considered a disgrace. A disgrace is when a family is poor and in need and the girl is a burden to her family."
...

Awatef graduated from high school and was unable to continue her university studies. "I am more entitled to serve my country than a foreigner," Awatef said with pride. "I accepted the challenge and faced all obstacles. We were irritated in the beginning by some comments from our relatives. Some did not approve of us working as waitresses. We now managed to impose ourselves on society. We are respected and appreciated as hard working women. The most important factor is that we are not violating our Islamic and moral values."
...
Some members of the public expressed their acceptance to the idea of Saudi women working as waitresses whereas others made it clear that they were against the idea.
---UNQUOTE; EMPHASIS ADDED---

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