Reference: Fataawa as-Siyaam libni Jibreen – Page 137, Fatwa No.162
Question: If there exists a partition cover between the men and the women in the masaajid, then does the saying of the Messenger (sal-Allaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam):
«The best of rows for the men are the front rows, and the worst of them are the last ones, and the best of rows for the women are the last rows and the worst of them are the front ones»
…apply, or is that done away with and the best of rows for the women become the front rows? Please inform us, and may Allaah reward you.
Response: It appears that the reason for the best of rows for the women are the last rows is because of the distancing from the men, for certainly, the further the woman is away from them (the men) it is safer for her and protection for her honour and further for her from any inclination to evil. However, if the praying area for the women is far from the men and detached by a partition such as a wall or a preventative covering and [the women’s] reliance is upon the loudspeaker[s] in following the imaam, then the preferred opinion is that the front rows are better for their nearness to the qiblah and the like.