Saudi Arabia's 'first female barber' stirs debate

Saudi Arabia's 'first female barber' stirs debate over role of women
2 min read
13 September, 2021
Wafaa Saqr, said to be Saudi Arabia's first female barber, stirred up a debate on social media after being interviewed by local celebrity Abdulrahman Al-Mutairi.
Wafaa Saqr rose to fame on local social media [Getty]

Saudi Arabia's "first female barber" rose to fame after videos of her giving haircuts to young boys went viral in the kingdom.

Saudi Twitter users launched a hashtag that translates to "Saudi Arabia's first female barber" reacting to the niqab-clad Wafaa Saqr being interviewed by local celebrity Abdulrahman Al-Mutairi on Snapchat, ash she cut the hair of a toddler.

"God bless our talented sister Wafaa, the first woman barber," he said before interviewing her on her profession.

Saqr said in the interview that she had been a barber for two years and is able to deal with all children even if they throw tantrums and chooses a haircut that suits each child.

Saqr explained that she works from home and does not have a salon, but wants to open one in the future.

"A beautiful example to the daughters of our homeland. It was a dream to see a woman barber and today with our daughter, Wafaa has made it a reality. We need more women like Wafaa 👏🏻🇸🇦", Saudi journalist Fahad Al-Mahdi tweeted.

Others claimed Saqr’s newfound fame as a step in the “humiliation” of Saudi women, saying women should stay at home and be raised as "princesses and queens".

"I swear to God, nothing about this should be celebrated and we should not be honouring the daughter of our homeland when she becomes a barber. Stop this buffoonery and enabling. We, Saudi women, are girls of men and are proud of every father, brother, husband, and son who raised us in their shadow after God," one critical tweet said.

"They made us princesses and queens and have honoured us since our childhood. Our men must not accept this humiliation for us!"