Sunday, March 26, 2017

Two Women Only Parks in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The World Economic Forum’s Gender Report 2015 positioned Saudi Arabia 134th out of 145 countries for gender equality. In Saudi Arabia, lady’s gyms aren’t commonly offered but now the government is working on different schemes and ideas to enhance fitness concept in the country. On Tuesday, Makkah news reported that in Jeddah city, the legal authorities are working on finishing two parks in the city. These parks are women restricted open parks. Updates are provided by well-informed sources that these two public parks will be opened in a few months’ time. One park will be opened near the Falak (astronomical) square while the other park will be opened in South Jeddah at Prince Fawaz housing district.

They also said that these parks will be completely supervised by the city legal authorities. These parks are part of the city’s upcoming scheme to give free and secure areas for females where they can spend their spare time. The main aim of this development is to open work-out centers in every region of the country. At present, the authorities are working on 10 walkways in different areas of the city to build the habit of walking. The two new parks will have entertainment area and walking tracks.  The scheme is to encourage women to walk as the Kingdom has a level of fitness, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The survey has been conducted in which 33.5 percent of women interviewed are categorized as obese while almost half of women are physically unfit.

There are many public parks in the different areas of the city but these parks are for both men and women. In Saudi Arabia, public places such as restaurants, banks, parks and other places are more separated. Women are required to go in and come out through special doors or sometimes men and women visit these places at different hours.  Wives, daughters, and sisters are not allowed to interact and mix with nonmahram or nonrelative. Saudi houses are constructed with 2 entrances: one for male and another for females. 

In East Jeddah in Al-Samir area, there is 1.5 km long and 12-meter wide walkway and in North Jeddah in Al-Shafa area walkway is 1.9 km long and 5 meters wide. In Al-Nakheel, there is a walkway to 1.5 km long and 32 meters wide and in Prince Fawaz housing area there is a walkway of 4.5 km long and 10 meters.

Hopefully, these schemes will help authorities in motivating Saudi women to live and enjoy improved and healthy daily life. This is also a part of Vision 2030 plan. The plan is to diminish Saudi dependency on oil and rely on other substitutes of an economy and the growth of service sectors such as health, education, transportation, communication, exercise, tourism and much more.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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