CLOSE

A woman is under arrest in Saudi Arabia for wearing a mini skirt, according to ‘The Washington Post.’
Time

The ultra-conservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced the construction of a luxury resort on the Red Sea where women will be allowed to wear bikinis instead of having to fully cover their bodies.

Experts believe the ambitious move initiated by the new heir to the Saudi throne, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is another attempt to modernize the oil-dependent economy.

Women face extreme restrictions under Saudi laws, including not being able to drive or travel without the permission of a male relative. Women are also expected to cover their bodies in public, making bikinis traditionally unacceptable. 

But the government said that the resort will be “governed by laws on par with international standards.” The resort will cover 50 islands and is expected to attract tourists from across the globe amid relaxed visa restrictions.

More: Saudi Arabia will finally allow girls to take PE — that’s a big deal

More: Saudi female driver speaks out for women: ‘Your rights are taken, not given’

“It goes without question that Prince Mohammed’s Vision 2030 is to … improve the relatively negative image of the kingdom in the world with regard to treating women,” said Massoud Maalouf, a former diplomat and an advocate of women rights in the Middle East and North Africa region.

He said by law foreign women are allowed to wear western clothing within their compounds, but they have to cover their whole body with an “abaya” — robe-like garment — in public. However, this law is not strictly implemented and foreign women can sometimes be seen in public with modest western dresses. Women, both foreign and Saudi-born, are not required to cover their faces, he said.

“Saudi Arabia, like…