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Why a miniskirt sparked an outcry

A short video of a Saudi woman walking around in a miniskirt and crop top sparked an outcry after going viral, leading to the woman being detained for several hours.
The woman was eventually released without charge, but the incident and the online debate it ignited point to the tension in Saudi Arabia between proponents of its conservative, state-enforced strictures and those pushing for greater rights.
THE SHOCK
The woman, whose name has not been released, defied the kingdom's conservative dress code, which requires all women, even foreigners, to wear long, loose robes known as abayas in public. Most Saudi women also cover their hair and face with black veils.
In some segments of society, even uttering a woman's name in public is taboo.
Last December another Saudi woman posted a picture of herself in public without the abaya on, but she was wearing a black coat and a long, colourful skirt. She was detained and interrogated for five days. Her current legal status is unclear.
A DEEPLY CONSERVATIVE COUNTRY
Saudi Arabia is a deeply conservative country that is governed by an austere interpretation of Islam widely known as Wahhabism, which draws heavily on the kingdom's tribal and patriarchal customs.
Other countries are governed by Islamic law, but none enforce the Saudi government's strict interpretation of it.
GENDER SEGREGATION
Cafes and restaurants in Saudi Arabia are typically gender-segregated, requiring women to enter through separate doors and be seated out of view of single men.
It remains illegal for women to drive in Saudi Arabia. Women also need the consent of a male relative, usually a father or husband, before they are allowed to travel abroad or obtain a passport.
Most universities and schools are segregated by gender.
Most Saudi women who do work are in teaching jobs, though women have also run in local elections and hold posts in the country's top consultative body, the Shura Council.
THE RELIGIOUS POLICE
Saudi Arabia curbed the powers of the religious police last year.
The all-male force can no longer make arrests or pursue people in car chases, though they still patrol the streets and public places ensuring unrelated men and women are not mingling.
The religious police, officially known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, ensure that both women and men are dressed modestly. Men can run afoul of the rules by wearing shorts that stop above the knee or by sporting long or outlandish hairstyles.
After the miniskirt video surfaced, the religious police referred the case to other agencies to investigate it. The woman was questioned by security officials in Riyadh.
OPENINGS
Last month, the king named his son as heir to the throne. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman , 31, has spearheaded a Vision 2030 plan to overhaul the country, including modernising aspects of society.
The kingdom announced last week that girls would be allowed for the first time to play sports in public school and have access to physical education classes.
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