Women welcome at a Saudi Arabia Starbucks shop after temporary ban

Women welcome at a Saudi Arabia Starbucks shop after temporary ban

By Henry Hanks, CNN: February 8, 2016

(CNN)To the Western world, it’s a surprising thing to see.

Until very recently, one Starbucks in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, had a sign with the phrase, “Please no entrance for ladies.”

The sign went up after a wall segregating families and single people when entering the coffee house fell down.

The temporary solution was to ban women from entering the Starbucks.


It was first noticed in the social media world last Monday when someone going by “Manar M” tweeted, “#Starbucks store in Riyadh refused 2 serve me just because I’m a WOMAN & asked me 2 send a man instead.”

Others began tweeting the sign, and it started popping up on Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere.

“Unreal. Starbucks in Saudi Arabia refused to serve women,” tweeted Muhammad Lila.

Manar M followed up by comparing the sign to signs from the segregated United States decades ago.

Starbucks issued the following statement to CNN: “At Starbucks, we adhere to the local customs of Saudi Arabia by providing separate entrances for families as well as single people. In addition, all our stores provide equal amenities, service, menu, and seating to men, women and families.”

The statement continues: “We are working as quickly as possible as we refurbish our Jarir store so that we may again welcome all customers in accordance with local customs.”

On Monday, Starbucks shared an update: “Starbucks welcomes all customers, including women and families, to enjoy the Starbucks experience. We have worked with local authorities to obtain approval to refurbish one of our stores in Jarir, which was originally built without a gender wall. That meant it could only accommodate men in accordance with local law.

“This was the only such Starbucks store in Saudi Arabia. During construction, the store could only accommodate and serve single men, and a poster was placed at the store entrance as required by local law.

The statement went on: “We are pleased to share that the store is now accessible to single men on one side as well as women and families on the other side. Starbucks has now 78 stores in Saudi Arabia and all stores cater to both families and singles, except for one that is exclusively reserved for women and families.”



Hillary Clinton’s problem with young women

By Jon Sopel: 8 February 2016

“There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” says former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The comment was supposed to help Hillary Clinton but it has also exposed her problem appealing to women voters.

An email has just popped into my inbox from Hillary Clinton, asking “Are you by my side?” Well of course I don’t have a vote in this race, but it’s a question she should be asking the young women who do. Because there she has problems. And they’re serious. She may have left millions of cracks in the glass ceiling when she ran to become the first female US president eight years ago, but it hasn’t shattered yet – and it might not do so in 2016.

I’m sure a lot of people outside the US will look at this and reach for one word – misogyny. And yes, in the bars and cafes, and on the bleachers at football games, trackside at a Nascar race, and in myriad other places where men gather to sweat and swear you will find – err, how can one put this – a slightly less than fully developed feminist perspective on having a woman president. But it is much more than that.

Hillary and Bill Clinton meet voters in a New Hampshire dinerImage copyrightAP

I was in Las Vegas a few months ago for the first Democratic debate at the Wynn hotel. So where better to go to find out who was going to win the political jackpot than on to the casino floor. This is what we call a vox pop. I think in the American media they are called man-on-the-street interviews. They give colour and texture to a piece. Ordinary voices, giving unfiltered opinions. Except when we did this set of vox pops and asked people (rather surreptitiously, because the security guards would have kicked us off the casino floor very quickly) what these men and women thought of Hillary Clinton, they spoke with one voice: they didn’t like her and didn’t trust her.

Now normally when you do these type of interviews you go back and edit them – and have a script line, something along the lines of “some said this, and some said that” and you play the divergent views. Except in Vegas they didn’t. The random group of people I approached ALL loathed her

Ok so far, so anecdotal. Let’s look at some actual figures. In the Iowa caucus last week, 84% of women under the age of 30 voted for the 74-year-old Bernie Sanders; just 14% for Hillary.

The projection for New Hampshire is even more striking. 92% of that age group say they will back Sanders. Among women aged 30-39 it is not a whole lot better. Just 11% say they are going to back Hillary.

The American people feel they have known Hillary intimately for a very long time. And with any longstanding relationship feelings get complicated. For better or worse some people never forgave her for sticking by Bill when he was embroiled in the whole Lewinsky scandal. If she was a proper feminist, she would have left him, goes the argument.

Categories: Saudi Arabia, The Muslim Times

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