The government is not in a position to force jewelers to replace their male employees with women as was the case with lingerie and cosmetics shops because women cannot provide enough protection, a local newspaper reported recently.
The Arabic language daily Al-Sharq quoted Karim Al-Anzi, head of the Gold and Jewelry Committee at the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as saying jewelry shops in the Kingdom are not well-protected and are vulnerable to robberies.
“The security personnel assigned to jewelry shops in the Kingdom are provided by some companies … they are not armed enough,” he said.
“These people cannot even protect women working at lingerie shops from molesters, let alone against theft and robberies. So I don’t think there will be any decision to replace men with women at jewelry shops.”
He said jewelry dealers in most countries rely on male workers to ensure sufficient protection, adding that gold shops in Saudi Arabia each has on average at least SR10 million worth of jewelry.
“How do you expect women working at these shops to protect these valuable contents? Unfortunately, jewelry dealers in the Kingdom rely on themselves to protect their shops by hiring untrained security personnel whose weapons are only mobile phones to report any theft or attack to the police,” he said.
The Kingdom began replacing all male workers with women at its lingerie and cosmetics shops three years ago in line with a longstanding policy banning mixed-gender working.