Campaign for women-only
hospitals in
Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH — A Saudi woman has launched a campaign on Facebook demanding exclusive hospitals for women.

By Habib Shaikh

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Published: Sat 16 Oct 2010, 9:49 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 8:21 AM

The campaign, launched earlier this week, has received the support of a number of men and women, especially nurses. The campaign page on Facebook says only women staff should be employed at these hospitals.

“Men should be separated from women in government hospitals in order to prevent gender-mixing,” one woman wrote on the page, while pleading for government hospitals run by women in order to “provide a clean, healthy and Shariah-compliant environment for women working in the health sector and increase job opportunities for them.”

When such hospitals are established, it would help put an end to the ‘negative social image’ about women medical professionals, which have prevented many young men from marrying nurses, she added.

The campaigners called on women to support them, especially as more men too had joined the initiative. They explained that such special hospitals for women would protect their privacy and give them more freedom to work.

“Such hospitals would increase the number of Saudi women doctors and nurses, whose number is very low now because their parents do not allow them to join the medical profession for fear of gender-mixing,’ one of the campaigners wrote.

Faris Al Qahtani, who joined the campaign, said women-only hospitals would help reduce unemployment among educated Saudi women who specialise in medical sciences. There will be work opportunities for women doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians and administrators, he wrote, while adding that qualified Saudi women refuse to work in hospitals because of the presence of men and the perceived social stigma.

“Many young men are reluctant to marry nurses because of rumours that they indulge in secret relations with their male colleagues,” he said.

Wafa G., a 26-year-old Saudi female nurse, said because of this, nurses are reluctant to work in hospitals.

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