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Jeddah the city of women in purple

It is the people of Jeddah with their purpleabayas, instead of the traditional black, who are irradiating a path towards female empowerment in Saudi Arabia, a complicated country for women, despite the fact that King Abdullah is limiting, slowly, the restrictions that affect them. A conference on the economy in the Arab world was held a few weeks ago, right in the city on the Red Sea that has seen many women mingling with men, another step towards a reform of the social freedoms and opportunities for work that could be reflected throughout the Arabic world.

"There is an almost universal consensus - said Fahad Nazer, a policy analyst who lives in Vienna, after having worked for the Saudi embassy in Washington – regarding the fact that the proximity of Jeddah to Mecca and the Red Sea exposes it to many cultural influences, making it "more cosmopolitan than other areas of the kingdom". The facts are there to prove it: the city was the first to allow women to work in retail stores and shopping malls, where they sell perfumes and lingerie in shops for families only. And also in Jeddah, in March, the National Commercial Bank appointed Sarah Al- Suhaimi executive director of the section devoted to investments; Somayya Jabarti, in February, became the first editor of a newspaper in the history of Saudi Arabia, "The Saudi Gazette", while last October Bayan Zahran became the first woman to be authorized to practice law in the country.

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