You're traveling on business, and the hotel you've booked kicks you out on your ear because you've forgotten to bring a "permission letter" from your father or husband. Believe it or not, career women in Saudi Arabia face this problem — the sexes are strictly segregated there, so most hotels won't let women check in without the authorization of a senior male relative or registration with the local police. Now a group of 20 Saudi princesses and businesswomen has devised a solution by opening the kingdom's first hotel exclusively for female guests — no males are allowed inside (not even children), so women can toss away their veils when they enter the lobby.
"We're providing a private space for Saudi women to relax and do business in comfort," says Lorraine Coutinho, executive director of the Luthan Hotel and Spa outside the Saudi capital, Riyadh. After six years of gnawing through red tape, she opened the hotel in March. Its entire staff — from bellhops to electrical engineers — is made up of women. Coutinho is most proud of the swimming pool and fully equipped gym at the Luthan (which means "sanctuary" in Arabic). "In other Saudi hotels, exercise facilities are reserved for men," she explains. The core clientele so far is businesswomen in their 30s and 40s, but others are beginning to flock to this man-free zone. "There's no need to hide here; women can be themselves," says Coutinho. The hitch: As women are still banned from driving in Saudi Arabia, it's impossible to get there without a man at the wheel.
The Best Face Masks for Every Skin Type and Concern
Oily skin? Need a glow? Want hydration? We have you covered.
By Samantha Holender
Is the Humble Bar of Soap the Future of Beauty?
Bars, powders, and concentrates are the beauty world’s latest obsession. Here's why everyone's going "waterless."
By Deanna Pai
Laptop Backpacks That Provide Both Fashion and Function
Stylish, take-anywhere backpacks that fit your laptop (and everything else, too).
By Julia Marzovilla
30 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men
If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, show them these statistics.
By Megan Friedman
EMILY's List President Laphonza Butler Has Big Plans for the Organization
Under Butler's leadership, the largest resource for women in politics aims to expand Black political power and become more accessible for candidates across the nation.
By Rachel Epstein
Want to Fight for Abortion Rights in Texas? Raise Your Voice to State Legislators
Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY's List and and former Minority Leader in Maine, says that to stop the assault on reproductive rights, we need to start demanding more from our state legislatures.
By Emily Cain
Your Abortion Questions, Answered
Here, MC debunks common abortion myths you may be increasingly hearing since Texas' near-total abortion ban went into effect.
By Rachel Epstein
The Future of Afghan Women and Girls Depends on What We Do Next
Between the U.S. occupation and the Taliban, supporting resettlement for Afghan women and vulnerable individuals is long overdue.
By Rona Akbari
How to Help Afghanistan Refugees and Those Who Need Aid
With the situation rapidly evolving, organizations are desperate for help.
By Katherine J Igoe
It’s Time to Give Domestic Workers the Protections They Deserve
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, reintroduced today, would establish a new set of standards for the people who work in our homes and take a vital step towards racial and gender equity.
By Ai-jen Poo
The Biden Administration Announced It Will Remove the Hyde Amendment
The pledge was just one of many gender equity commitments made by the administration, including the creation of the first U.S. National Action Plan on Gender-Based Violence.
By Megan DiTrolio