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Why Restaurants in Saudi Arabia Are Banning Women

Single women apparently cause "several social issues."

Fayez Nureldine/Getty Images

Some restaurants in Saudi Arabia have recently banned single womenAccording to Gulf News, restaurateurs have posted signs saying "women not allowed" on the front of their restaurants to prevent women not accompanied by a male chaperone from dining at their establishments. Apparently, the presence of single women causes "several social issues" and single women often behave in a "shocking way."

The International Business Times writes that a local restaurant owner tried to justify his actions to the Arabic daily Al-Hayat: "We put up these signs because we have seen numerous incidents of flirting taking place inside the restaurant." Other absurd arguments include that single woman "speak loudly without any respect for public behavior," that they focus on their mobile phones "which emanate loud music," and that they can be "mentally unstable."

Many have come out against the discriminatory bans, however. The National Society for Human Rights Secretary, General Khalid Al Fakhri, called for the "immediate removal" of the signs. Fakhri added that the restaurant owners violated the law by posting the signs. The IBT writes that Saudi Arabian law already forces women to deal with many restrictions: They are banned from driving cars, playing sports, and must typically be accompanied by a male guardian. However, "restaurants and cafes are the two main recreational places for women in the country." So with this ban, they would essentially be forced to stay home.