No men allowed!

IMAGINE the secret-society feel of a British private members’ club mixed with the casual dress of a pyjama party. That is the atmosphere of Luthan Hotel and Spa, a women-only establishment in Riyadh, the austere Saudi capital.

via Segregation in Saudi Arabia: No men allowed! | The Economist.

Of course women don’t want to be confined at home, so the wealthy women of Saudi Arabia are finding a safe have in “women only” facilities.  These include spas, gyms, and one floor of the ritzy Kingdom Mall.

 Curves, an American gym chain, has found favour by offering its facilities to female fitness fanatics unencumbered by their men. The new trend means more jobs for women too. In the Luthan, female porters, cleaners and IT staff cater to the guests’ every whim.

Since they can’t drive, they still need men to take them there.  But things are changing, much too fast for many clerics.

 Some Saudi clerics have campaigned for women-only gyms to be shut down; one preacher declared that sport could cause women to “lose their virginity”.

However, as more women join the workforce change is inevitable.  How can you run an office where the men and women are keep segregated?

Women Rock!

In 1997, Tharp, who had long worked patiently in Heezen’s shadow, received double honors from the Library of Congress, which named her one of the four greatest cartographers of the 20th century and included her work in an exhibit in the 100th-anniversary celebration of its Geography and Map Division. There, one of her maps of the ocean floor hung in the company of the original rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and pages from Lewis and Clark’s journals. When she saw it, she started to cry. But Tharp had known all along that the map she created was remarkable, even when she was the only one who believed. “Establishing the rift valley and the mid-ocean ridge that went all the way around the world for 40,000 miles—that was something important,” she wrote. “You could only do that once. You can’t find anything bigger than that, at least on this planet.”

via How One Woman’s Discovery Shook the Foundations of Geology | Mental Floss.

More on Child Brides

Afghan child bride’s in-laws sentenced for torture – Houston Chronicle.

Her torturers have been sentenced to prison, but is it enough?

The plight of 15-year-old Sahar Gul captivated the nation and set off a storm of international condemnation when it came to light in late December. Officials said her husband’s family kept her in a basement for six months after her arranged marriage, ripping out her fingernails, breaking her fingers and torturing her with hot irons in an attempt to force her into prostitution.

Her uncle alerted authorities, and she was rescued; her attackers were sentenced to 10 years in prison.  Her husband and his brother are still on the run, but her mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law were sentenced to 10 years each.  They kept her in the basement, pulled out her fingernails, and did other unspeakable things in an attempt to force her into prostitution to support them.

This is the fate of many Afghan women.  Although marriage is illegal for girls under 16 years of age,

the United Nations agency UN Women estimates that half of all girls are forced to marry under age 15.

What future do they have, with no schooling, no support, and no opportunity?  How can we, the most fortunate people in the world, stand by while this goes on under our watch?

…ending abuse remains a huge challenge in Afghanistan’s patriarchal society, where traditional practices include child marriage, giving girls away to settle debts or pay for their relatives’ crimes and so-called honor killings in which women seen as disgracing their families are murdered by their relatives.

Support the Women for Afghan Women, Young Women for Change, and other groups that are working to help Afghani women through these tough times.

Clean Water

h/t to Flowingdata

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