Saudi Arabia

No More Gender Specific Entrances for Restaurants in Saudi Arabia

Women in Saudi Arabia will no longer use separate entrances from men or sit behind partitions at restaurants in the latest measure announced by the government.

The decision, which essentially ends gender segregation rules in public, was announced Sunday in a statement by the Municipal and Rural Affairs Ministry.

Across Saudi Arabia, the norm has been that unrelated men and women are not permitted to mix in public. Government-run schools and most public universities remain segregated, as are most Saudi weddings.

Restaurants and cafes in Saudi Arabia, including major Western chains like Starbucks, are currently segregated by “family” sections allocated for women who are out on their own or who are accompanied by male relatives, and “singles” sections for just men. Many also have separate entrances for women and partitions or rooms for families where women are not visible to single men. In smaller restaurants or cafes with no space for segregation, women are not allowed in.


Mohammed Ameen is an expatriate blogger who loves sharing his experiences of living and working in the Gulf countries.