Saudi Arabia is drawing up plans to build a women-only city in an attempt to bolster the Middle Eastern country's female workforce.
Construction on the women-only city is expected to start next year, with the Saudi Industrial Property Authority heading the project, the Daily Mail reported.
"It is hoped it will allow women's desire to work without defying the country's Islamic laws," the tabloid reported.
The women-only city will be situated in Hafuf, in eastern Saudi Arabia.
The planned enclave is expected to bring in 500 million riyals ($133.3 million) and create 5,000 textile, pharmaceutical and food processing jobs, according to United Press International.
"I'm sure that women can demonstrate their efficiency in many aspects and clarify the industries that best suit their interests, nature and ability," Saudi Industrial Property Authority Deputy Director General Saleh al-Rasheed told UPI.
Saudi Arabia, which operates under Sharia Law, does not forbid women from having jobs. But only 15 percent of the country's workforce is female, and the women-only city is expected to increase that figure.
Under Wahhabism, the branch of Sunni Islam that governs the laws of Saudi Arabia, there is segregation of men and women, with most women working for all-female firms, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Even before construction gets underway on the women-only city, other similar enclaves are being planned throughout the kingdom, according to al-Rasheed.
"We have plans to establish a number of women-only industries in various parts of the kingdom," he told the Daily Mail.
Saudi Arabia pushed for more job openings for women. The country has a male/female employment gap of 23 percent - one of the largest disparities in the world, according to Marie Claire.
The women-only city has the endorsement of a group of Saudi businesswomen.
''The new industrial city should have a specialized training center to help women develop their talents and train them to work at factories. This is essential to cut unemployment among our female graduates," businesswoman Hussa al-Aun told the Saudi business daily Al Eqtisadiah, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Saudia Arabia has received harsh criticism for its treatment of women, including forbidding females from driving, traveling alone with a man or attending a mosque that doesn't have a female prayer section.