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Evolution, Not Revolution: Gender Law and Women Rights in Saudi Arabia


In the olden days, women were considered not capable of surviving independently of the men. Men were required to provide basic needs for their families that entailed food, shelter and protection. Traditionally, women were limited to domestic chores that encompass looking after the children, cooking as well as bearing children.

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Quite a number of societies even nowadays consider the roles and duties of women as homemakers. The Indian community and many Arab communities still embrace the traditional notion that women in society should play the role of homemakers. This is wrong because the 21st century has resulted in great labialization and globalization that has obscured the traditional view of women as home makers.

From an evolution perspective, many women nowadays have been transformed from home makers to play the role of breadwinners in their families. Technology has empowered women greatly and nowadays women are no longer limited to the traditional notion where women were regarded as home makers whose duties entailed looking after children as well as cooking for their husbands and children. With globalization and liberalization, women these days are pursuing professional courses just like men.

Education and technological developments in the modern society have played a major role in empowering the modern woman as an equal partner with man. Most women are empowered to take care of themselves. Therefore, in the modern families men no longer conduct themselves in the tradition manner where men were regarded as domineering as well as unquestionable as long as they aspire to live in a peaceful environment. However, in today marriages, men are required to behave in a manner to indicate a sense of equal partnership between in the union (AlMunajjed, 2010).

The evolution of the modern woman from the duty of home makings to being a financial contributor in the household requirements had been accompanied by various challenges. The duty of raising the children has really been affected in modern marriages where women are now actively involved in formal employments.

With two parents being engaged in formal employments in pursuit for moderate living conditions, the care for the children is left to baby sitters as well as to the teachers. This causes a gap between the parents and their children as parents spend most of their times at work and thus, they do not get enough time to emotionally interact with their children.

In shedding light on the evolution of the traditional roles of Saudi Arabian women, the researcher used the role theory to demonstrate how human behavior is influence by expectations that are held by individuals as well as by other people. The role theory mainly specifies which roles should be pursued as well as what tasks must be accomplished.

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The role theory suggests that in order to change behavior, it is essential to change roles. It is believed that roles are directly related to behaviors. Roles are noted to influence behavior, beliefs as well as attitudes. Persons will change their beliefs and attitudes in accordance to their new roles.

In Saudi Arabia, the society has not wholly embraced the changing roles of the modern woman from being a home maker to assuming the duty of a financial contributor in the household requirements. Most men in Saudi Arabia as well as the Saudi Arabian government are biased towards the position of women in the country.

Despite the opportunity for availing equal education opportunities for both Saudis girls and boys, it is noted that it is only a small percentage of the Saudi Arabian girls that are privileged to access lucrative jobs as well as in a position to decide what they want in life. It is noted that in Saudi Arabia, women have to get the approval from the family when they express their desire to work. Thus, success for a Saudi Arabian woman is not an easy task unless the women get appropriate support from the father or husband.

In Saudi Arabia women and girls are not allowed to go shopping or attend social functions alone, unless they seek prior approval from their husbands or fathers. However, the high rate in the number of educated Saudi Arabian has exerted a lot of pressure on the tradition norms that Saudi Arabia society has towards the women. This has resulted to the current high rates of divorce as educated Saudi Arabian women are no longer stopping to the traditional notions that restrict them as home makers. Similarly, most of the highly educated Saudi Arabian women are no longer restricted to seek for permissions to attend social functions or go to their shopping (AlMunajjed, 2010).

Problem Statement

For decades, Saudi women had been considered as home makers – not very different from the women of 1950s in America. Saudi Arabian women have been facing a glass ceiling that is set by Saudi Arabian men by expectations in both their work and home environments. A Saudi Arabian woman is expected to be a home maker whose duty is purely domestic which entail; care taker, mother, cook, maid among attending other domestic chores.

Saudi Arabian women are not encouraged to participate in other job activities that society has to offer because other job offers are generally reserved for men. This problem mainly applies to married women, but not single women. Nonetheless, this mentality also creates some difficulty for single Saudi women when trying to achieve their aspirations. In order to understand today’s conditions, it is imperative to examine past events.

The problem being faced by Saudis women has existed for long, but it has thrived unnoticed. In the Post War Cohort, women thought that it was the norm to be a stay at home mom, to provide for the family within the home, to bear children, and to take care of their husbands. In the Jones generation, only a handful of women identified this problem.

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However, in the current generation that is equivalent to Generation Y, this problem of inhibiting the growth and development of women as citizens of society has been exposed. Therefore, it is nowadays a big problem more than ever and particularly in Saudi Arabian. The Saudi Arabian women who are educated are doing their best to try and bring to an end the great discrimination of the Saudis women that is greatly limiting the growth and development of Saudis women professionally and in their career.

Consequentially, the finding of this solution will be the driving force behind uniting, adding value, and equalizing the role of Saudi women in modern day Saudi Arabia. However, this is not to rebel against society or to the rules that have been created for protection or by religion, but rather trying to adapt to society and to help women not to be confined to domestic chores in their marriages. Similarly, the educated Saudis are not in favor of promoting single moms.

Nonetheless, they require promoting a family that is a team and everyone in the family is a team member – just like on a soccer team. The importance of solving this issue is great. This problem, if not solved now, will lead to deeper problems. According to the New York Times, for example, the divorce rate in Saudi Arabia is 62%. The reason behind this is because of current gender roles. As mentioned earlier.

Many scholars have researched on this issue, but they have not succeeded in unearthing the underlying cause for the high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia. Many scholars have focused their study by investigating how the existing socioeconomic climate, culture, and gender role standards in Saudi Arabia contribute to high divorce rate.

After reviewing the literature pertaining to high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia, the researcher identified that there is a gap in how the young people are contemplating the family unit in terms of the roles of women as well as their capabilities. Therefore, the researcher aspires to investigate the gap in the research conducted. The researcher will investigate how the women changing roles, capabilities as well as their fight for equality have contributed to the high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia.


The main Objective for this research is to determine how the women changing roles, capabilities and fight for equality has contributed to high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia.

Specific Objectives

  1. To determine how education of Saudi Arabian women affects the divorce rate.
  2. To determine how working of Saudi Arabian women has contributed to high divorce rate.
  3. To determine who Saudi Arabian consider as a perfect father and mother.
  4. To determine the existing inequality between men and women in Saudi Arabian
  5. To recommend appropriate solution to reduce the high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia

Research Questions

In order to address the objectives for this study, the researcher formulated a number of research questions that the study sought to answer.

  1. How does education of Saudi Arabian women contribute to high divorce rate?
  2. How does formal employment of Saudi Arabian women affect the divorce rate?
  3. Which are the main duties for a perfect Saudi Arabian mother/father?
  4. Which are the existing inequality between men and women in Saudi Arabian?
  5. Which is the best solution (s) to the high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia?

Purpose of the Study

The study will be very important for various stakeholders in Saudi Arabia. The findings from this research will help in indicating the underlying causes for the high divorce rate in the Saudi Arabia. The study will try to show how the changing roles of Saudi Arabian women have increased the divorce rate.

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The findings will be important to the Saudi Arabian government in order to help the government enact appropriate policy that will promote education as well as formal employment of women in order for Saudi Arabian women to actively participate in the Saudi Arabia economic growth.

The government will also recommend the ministry of education to incorporation appropriate programs in the education curriculum that will support equality for both men and women in Saudi Arabia in terms of access to education, employment and responsibilities. The research findings will also help the families in Saudi Arabia to learn about the global changing roles of women in order for the Saudi Arabian men to appreciate and support the women to develop intellectually as well as economically by giving them opportunities to work.

Literature Review

Women and education

In the education sector, women are doing a commendable job. In 2006 for instance, 57 percent of the total university graduates in Saudi Arabia were female students (Weisberg, 1993). This represents more than half of the total number of graduates including their male counterparts. With such an increase in the rate of literacy for women, it would be a wise input to involve this lot in the growth and development of the country.

The challenge is brought about by the traditional roles attached to women by the society. With these high levels of education, women are still seen as service deliverers and are only allowed in the fields that align with that notion. As a result, many female students from Saudi have resorted to taking degree programs that focus on education and humanities courses. As matter of fact, in 2007, 97 percent of the Saudi Arabian female graduates had specialized in education and humanities.

Due to the rising supply of these services, now the country is facing a critical shortage of jobs in these fields. This has resulted to Saudi Arabians seeking employment in other countries which is a very discouraging condition and the government should seek a way to address the issue soonest possible. There are numerous factors that contributed to the position of the Saudi Arabian women including social and political factors.

Early marriages

Dropping out of school is a major problem in the Saudi kingdom. Girls’ education is hindered by early marriages but the government is not responding to this effect. There is a great percentage of illiterate girls who get married as early as at 16 years of age. This tender age cannot allow little girls to continue with their studies. They immediately change into mothers and conform to the societal expectations of a grown woman despite their inability to do so effectively.

This has numerous repercussions in the latter years of the marriage. Family responsibilities overwhelm their ability to pursue education. This as a result reduces their chances to secure formal employment and can only find domestic jobs which normally are low payment jobs. Due to dependence, they are left with no options regarding control over their lives and ultimately they turn out to be slaves of their providers who are their husbands. This is what the Saudi Arabian women have been facing over the years.

They cunningly are ripped off their ability to fend for themselves and the ability to sustain themselves as well. After this is achieved, men can exploit them since they are not economically able to support themselves without the help from husbands. As a result of their poor education background, many such women are in a dilemma. They cannot get formal employment or time to continue with their education. The danger attached to early marriages is also a factor to consider in the Saudi Arabia.

According to the medical researches done in Jeddah, 27 percent of the women in Saudi were married at or below the tender age of 16 years (Mohamed, 2010). Early marriages are associated with numerous risks. According to the Jeddah report, girls at this age are twice exposed to the risk of spontaneous abortion, four times the risk of combined fatal death and infant mortality as well as twice the risk of miscarriages in their childbearing years (Bartlett & Rhode, 2010).

Unfortunately, in Saudi Arabia there is no legal minimum age for marriage for either boys or girls. Hence girls can be married as early as at 14 years to elderly men over 40 years. By law, no felony can be said to have been committed in such a situation but socially this can have very negative implications on the young girl’s life.

The growing population in the Saudi Arabia is a reason to facilitate improvements in the handling of women and protecting their rights to ensure growth and perpetuity. Women are the backbone of every society and they must be protected against harsh environment. Depending on the harsh conditions that women face, further discrimination and marginalization of women can be best described as adding salt to an injury.

Working and marriage

In the modern society that we are living in, women all over the world have taken up the challenge to get involved in activities that were all along regarded as men’s responsibilities. The modern woman is today challenging and even threatening men’s competence in the corporate world. When the current financial challenges are consider, it is important for both men and women to be actively involved in the role of providing for their families.

Everything today is expensive and the basic goods and services such as food and healthcare respectively are slowly escalating in prices to prices that are not affordable by a big percent of our population. Taking note of that, it is as important as it is for men that women be engaged in the job market. However, the fact that women are encouraged to work does not imply in any way that they should therefore neglect their responsibilities as women.

It is obvious that women and men have different roles in the society and while the male gender upholds their end of the bargain, women should also endeavor to do the same. In a marriage situation, the main reason why disagreements arise is because of responsibilities. There are two reasons that can highly be linked to the high rate of divorce in Saudi Arabia.

One reason is because the current generation has forgotten what family values are and do not spend enough time together in situation where both parties are working or where its only men works. The second reason is because many partners are no longer satisfied with what they have and divorce is such an easy option for them. Research has indicated that misunderstanding, lack of rational communication as well as poor time management is the highest factors that lead to divorce.

Other factors that have been identified as causes of divorce are literacy if not well managed. Some women who are engaged in formal employment may tend to concentrate on their work more than their marriage responsibilities. This makes a woman feel stronger and able to survive on her own without having to live under the control of a man and thus, such women mainly secure a divorce. Women should be given responsibilities that will enable them to be able to balance their families and work responsibilities in order to avoid draining the woman.

What makes a good mother?

Being prepared to raise a kid and having the right approach towards this task is what it takes to be a good mother. A good mother provides counsel for the children but most importantly acts as a good example for the children to learn from her. Being there for the children; setting an example; loving them; teaching them as well as disciplining them appropriately are essential elements for a good mother. A mother must always be there for her children, loving them, teaching them and raising them to be good people no matter what it takes.

Depending on the woman’s personality, a good mother is one who most importantly spends time with her kids (play, read, cook). Nannies cannot and will never fulfill the mother’s job or provide an alternative to the mother’s role in a Child’s growth. Nonetheless, being available to your children is essential, but most importantly is for the children to see their mother being able to support herself, is strong and capable of taking control. Therefore, seeking education, attending parenting workshops, and seeking knowledge about parenting is imperative in order in helping mothers and fathers be good parents.

It is not about the work, it is all about the environment, the personality, regulation and the ability to handle work and be able to take responsibilities as a woman. If the mother is able to work and take care of her children by working full-time or half-time she will be a good mother. A good mother is one that can take care of work and raise her kids and be a loving wife.

For a good mother, if work compromises her duty as a wife and a mother, then I think priority should be given to the well being of the family before anything else, the woman should negate her job in favor for her parental duties. Nevertheless, it is likely for a mother to spend most part of her time at home and fail to give her children quality time. The key issue in parenting is quality time not quantity. Spending more time with the children is not a guarantee that the children will enjoy or benefit from it.

On the other hand, some mothers spend most of their time working, but the little time they spend with their children is fruitful and more effective. Children need their mothers to be there for them, loving them and spending real time with them. Mothers should feel obligated to spend some time with their children no matter what and should protect her from growing up lonely. It is noted that mothers being home with the kid all day for the first three years is essential as this is the period through which basic personality begins to form.

After three years, the mother can at least take on part time jobs here and there at least jobs that will not keep her so busy to lack time to attend to her baby. Nonetheless, it is not only about staying at home for the first three years without doing anything. The mother should spend this time nurturing and loving the kid. This is the period to make the child feel loved and appreciated and create an attachment with the baby. At this stage, a child develops a lasting bond to the mother which is necessary for healthy growth. A happy mother makes a good mother. Mothers’ happiness is good for the whole family (Levitt & Dubner, 2005).

Women employment

In paying attention in Saudi Arabian labor market, there are unique disparities when it comes to women employees. Considering the fact that the kingdoms economic drive is mostly technical and more specifically in the oil industry, women do not contribute so much in the economic activities. Going with statistics released in 2007 by booz and company, the approximated number of people who were working in Saudi Arabia was 8.2 million people.

This included foreign workers and citizens who did not even comprise half the number. The majority of workers come from foreign countries. The labor force in Saudi Arabia is 85.6 percent comprised of men. This shows how far oppression and inequality has spread and taken root in Saudi Arabia. Women should be promoted and encouraged to participate in the national growth. It is so clear that the Saudi Arabian market is losing its grip with the ever increasing number of foreign workers.

With the growing demand day after day for labor, the country needs to think outside the box and see how best to curb the status quo. Involving and allowing the women to participate in national activities including national policy making would go a long way in solving this issue. It is important for the Saudi Arabian government to consider involving the women in the development of the country with respect to employment.

Taking into consideration the current status whereby the girl child is doing so well in the academic arena, all the expertise gained is more or less let down the drain if the women are not allowed to exercise their knowledge in a profitable way. Although the support for women is mounting, enough has not been taken to account.

In the labor market, a commendable rise in the number of women working has been realized in Saudi kingdom. However, this is not enough especially putting into consideration the fact that women are more involved in the low-level employment like in the education sector where they get employed as teachers or in administrative positions in the same field (Weisberg, 1993).

Position of women in Saudi Arabia

Women are rarely involved in key political functions due to their assumed home duties which are seen as a hindrance to their performance in the national arena. Without women representation in the government, there is consequently no one to fight for their rights and oversee their inclusion in national matters. This has been the case for many years in the Saudi Arabian kingdom.

This is so despite the increasing literacy levels of women in the country. This situation is enforced by the cultural and religious alignment of the citizens. The country’s highest population is aligned to the Muslim religion hence the religious belief that the women should always depend on her man for provision and everything. The Arabian men perceive women independence as rebellion and hard headedness hence they detest any attempt for their wives to get there.

This is limiting and discouraging and basically unfair. Women should be encouraged to work as well as be given the independent of selecting their marriage partners. Looking at the dire effects of not allowing women to be financially sound independently, the researcher presents a case of such an instance. A woman who gets married immediately after her degree, she does not find a job because the husband will not allow her to.

This therefore means that she has to stay at home looking after the children and taking care of the homestead. In the first few years the marriage is still working out well and the family is still growing and in ten years time, the couple has three children already. Then just when the children are getting into collage, the husband passes away.

Considering he was working as a professional, the family has no any other source of income and the mother cannot secure a decent employment that can cater for her and her children. This is how the situation is in the country today. Many women today are left stranded not knowing what to do next or where to run to incase the breadwinner is no longer present either through death or legal divorce.

The legal system

The entire legal system of the Saudi Arabian kingdom is very hostile to the female gender. Human rights are rarely observed in this kingdom while the female are left out in many policy making processes hence giving room for oppressive laws. If women were given a chance and a voice in the government, there would possibly be more prospects on the development of this nation. Far from the political participation, women face discrimination in the societal functions.

This fact is true due to several factors one of the major one being the fact that unlike men, women have to ask permission before they can get involved in any societal activities. The permission is granted by a male who is a superior in all circumstances. For a daughter who is still under her father’s watch, she has to obtain permission from her father before engaging in any societal activity. For a married woman, the permission comes from the husband who decides whether or not the wife can get involved.

For women to work, travel, marry, study or even access medical attention, they have to get permission from the guardian who must always be a male with the corresponding relationship. This fact contravenes and works in contrast with the rights of women to access health services. Breaching this right not only injures the adult women but also hurts the children who are under her authority.

Women discrimination by law

The Saudi Universities’ Law, the Civil Service Law, and the Labor and Workers Law take care of women as it does for men. However, disparities arise in light of several factors such as grades, earnings in terms of salary, courses, and chances in schooling, employment, and training which are designed to align and be in agreement with the shari’ah laws (Fatany, 2007). In implementing these laws, there are problems in the full implementation as they are normally flawed.

The laws are rarely enforced fully hence the Saudi women do not enjoy full benefits of the protection offered by them. A combination of confined norms and customs, societal values, and ethics derived from the patriarchal structure hamper the implementation, putting a significant pressure on women’s lives and restraining their prospect to obtain or complete their learning (Weisberg, 1993). Women are connected to gender inconsistency such as the customary roles of men and women shaped by the society.

These roles are extremely in favor of the males at the expense of the females. Matrimony and the limited knowledge on the societal and cultural worth of girls’ academic achievements are mostly the reasons that cause the girl child in Saudi Arabia to give up on education. This is proved by the high levels of dropping out of schools as well as collages regardless of the continued government effort to support education.

Unlike in the developing countries, dropping out in Saudi Arabia is not necessarily as a result of lack of resources to send girls to school rather by the lack of self worth and measures to encourage girls’ enrolment to school. Girls will not be motivated if they work so hard in school to achieve good grades and yet they cannot find jobs to exercise what the spent years of training learning. The early planned marriages are another reason for the high levels of dropouts especially in the schools level.

A disturbing number of girls are forced to quit school in order to get into forced and planned marriages. As I mentioned earlier in this study, Saudi Arabia registers a very high number of divorce cases annually. The cause of these cases is the early marriages that are not based on love rather on formalities. Young girls are forced to marry men they do not love. The end result will be that when they grow up into mature adults, they begin to understand the essence of love in a marriage and as a result they start rebelling against their husbands.

This will ultimately lead to a divorce. I do not think that subjecting little immature girls into marriage is wise in the first place. Enforcing a person to be friends with someone they have not chosen to befriend may never bear any positive fruits. That is why the divorce rate is critically escalating in Saudi Arabia. The government must come up with ways and means to improve the reception of graduating female students in the job market as a matter of urgency.

This will go a long way in motivating female students to pursue their studies with the confidence that they will finally find employment after their hard work in school. If this confidence is not created then the rate of dropouts should be expected to rise drastically. Saudi has shown a level of good faith in empowering the women but definitely more can be done to make things better and friendlier to women in the country.

The government should first consider conforming to the international conventions and fully consent to them without reservations based on religious grounds. Women discrimination is not only harmful to them but also to the society since women are the pillars that shape the society by preserving the societal believes and ethics from one generation to the next (Vogel, 2000).

Commitment to international conventions

The Saudi government has over the years shown a reluctant approach in adopting international conventions that promote equality in rights including social, economical and cultural rights. Through my research, I have been able to find out that the Saudi government is not part of some fundamental treaties that strongly advocate for the right to health. To be more specific, the Saudi government has not yet ratified the International Covenant on Economics, Social and Cultural Rights “ICESCR” (Mohamed, 2010).

This convention has provisions that promote social rights and health is one these rights as provided in the document. This is a clear indication of how the Saudi government is slow in committing itself to protect the right to health for its people. Nonetheless, the government seems to respond slowly on issues that protect the people of Saudi Arabia (Mohamed, 2010).

Even after the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, CEDAW, the policies are not fully implemented (Mohamed, 2010). Relevant laws that support human rights are not yet fully operational in the country. This is a sad situation to know that even with the countries agreement with some of the world’s conventions; the people of Saudi Arabia are not assured to enjoy the provisions of these agreements.

The government however is seen to mind the rights of its citizen considering chapter five of its basic system of governance. This chapter covers the issue of rights and duties covering economic, social and cultural rights. In article three of the document, the right to health is provided for where it states that “the state takes care of health issues and provides health care for each citizen” (Mohamed, 2010). Analysts however raise concerns against the clause “for each citizen” arguing that the clause sets aside the non-citizens by covering only the citizens of Saudi.

This is critical considering majority of the working population are foreigners. That aside, the existence of these policies do not fully benefit the citizen as they do not conform to the international human rights standards rather they are governed by the shari’ah law. Hence, the effectiveness of these rights as provided in article 3 in chapter five of the basic system of governance is held in very high doubts (Weisberg, 1993).

Oil wealth effect

The presence of oil deposits in the country has been viewed as a blessing although to some, the rich resource has brought more harm than good to the women. It is through the oil that women now can get an education and health facilities considering that some years back women would die from health issues such as giving birth. So many lives were lost during giving birth due to lack of proper health systems and more so, the resources to facilitate health care for such situations.

With today’s GDP growth and wealth realized through the trade of oil, the government is able to support health programs. As a matter of fact, health services in Saudi Arabia are publicly funded by the government (Weisberg, 1993). However, wealth brought about by the oil trade contributes to the severe marginalization of women in Saudi Arabia.

This wealth makes it possible for the nation to separate women from men by have duplicate institution for different gender (Weisberg, 1993). In Saudi Arabia you find universities for women only and others for men as well. It is in the same country you find banks for women and other institutions that only serve a particular gender. The separation of women from men has enabled the country to tame the women to take the second position after men leaving them under the leadership and mercies of men.

In countries with less wealth, double institutions are unattainable hence both men and women will go to same institutions of learning, get the same services and hence give both men and women equal opportunities. Oil has been accused of creating wealth to the Saudi Arabian people that has enabled them to be able to control the women. Women even with their education remain idle in their homes since their husbands are wealthy enough to provide for the family hence no need for them to work.

This has left a negative impact on the economy of Saudi Arabia and is contributing to the retrogressing economic activities. Talented women are forced to remain at home doing house work rather than explore their talents and contribute to the national growth in wealth and other sectors of the countries development prospects. Indeed, the oil industry itself is discriminatory as it remains a masculine industry even to date. With the wealth realized from the oil industry, the state did not need women in the labor force since they did not need the income (Fatany, 2007).

Women were excluded from the national wealth contribution. In fact it was a deliberate act of the government to exclude the women from the labor force and import labor from foreign countries. This explains why the labor force foreign ration is higher than the native’s. With the country’s strong foundation on the religious nationalism, it is difficult for it to discuss gender issues as religious nationalism measures its godliness with the exclusion of women (Fatany, 2007).

Apparently in the Saudi kingdom women are overlooked in most of the activities and are not allowed to participate in national decision making processes. A woman’s place in Saudi Arabia is that of a care giver as noted earlier and national matters that affect the country are regarded as none of her business. However, my opinion is that women just like their counterparts the male, have a collective responsibility to ensure that they play a role in the development of their native country.

The Saudi Arabian women are not exempted from this responsibility. The whole world today regards women as the driving force in the development of the economy. However, this in the Saudi Arabian kingdom has been compromised by the turn of events with women’s financial independence. Saudi Arabia is a strict religious country and follows the Muslim teachings. The Muslim teaching values the institution of marriage as well as condemning singlehood.

Unfortunately, most women who pursue academic excellence and achieve financial independence tend to abandon their responsibilities as wives, mothers, and servants of their husbands. This in Saudi Arabia is an unacceptable reality hence the oppressive situation in the kingdoms policies on human rights. Women are perceived to be owned not to exist as individuals. A woman will always be a property belonging to a man either as a wife, as a daughter, as a sister or any other relationships as acknowledged by the law.

Effects of oppression

These oppressive notions are disadvantaging the women in Saudi Arabia and leaving them prone to dependency. Dependency from time immemorial translates to slavery and oppression. This takes away the rights of women and transforms them into beggars. However, the inception of women education is a one step the state made that provides a promise that in the near future this might change and the freedom of women shall be bought as they continue to increasingly seek for knowledge.

For this to happen, the women have to pull up their academic efforts and start to sign up for the masculine dominated programs in the universities such as engineering, law, actuarial science, science subjects such as physics, chemistry and biology as well as political sciences. Study has shown that the majority of Saudi women are more interested in the humanities and teaching courses that are normally on the low end in the economy.

If they could turn their focus to the masculine courses we would be making progress in covering the gap between men and women in Saudi. The fact that women are overlooked in national matters is far and wide spread in the kingdom and only the women can take charge and change the situation.

Preference Theory

The preference theory is very effective in explaining women conduct towards the pursuit of education and employment. The theory claims that society is man-made and people are malleable in regard to responding to incentives and sanctions in short terms. Levitt & Dubner (2005) posit that many differences that were thought to exist between men and women were innate rather than fixed. Nowadays, women have been noted to outperform men in education performance.

Sex difference is nowadays regarded as verbal as women are today noted to greatly improve in mathematics as well as spatial abilities to match up with that of men. However, despite the great performance of the women certain sex difference persists such as attitudes and sexuality. Preference theory tries to give the missing explanation between women work preferences and family roles. The theory gives human beings the freedom to make their own choices without being tied by universal conventions.

The theory regards women as heterogeneous and their preferences conflict between family and employment. The theory classifies women in three work-lifestyle preferences. There is the work-centered women who are mainly the minority. Many women nowadays are pursuing high education and being engaged in highly competitive and demanding careers such as sports, politics as well as engineering. Such women tend to remain childless even after getting married. The other category of women is the adaptive women who balance between employment and family work. Most women fall in the adaptive women category.

Most of these women are engaged in occupations such as school teaching as they offer a more even work-family balance. Other women that fall in this category seek part time jobs that give them an opportunity to balance work-family life. The last category of women is the home centered who comprise those women who opt to give priority to family life after they are married. These women tend to have many children and avoid engaging in paid work unless in situations where the family is experiencing financial problems (Bartlett & Rhode, 2010).


Research Philosophy

Phenomological paradigm and Positivism are the two main research philosophies that are suitable in identifying the research methods that are most suitable for the study. Positivism paradigm posits that social world thrive externally and its properties should be measured objectively rather than being deduced subjectively.

Conversely, phenomological research philosophy recognizes actions, artifacts as well as events from within human life, but not as observation of some external reality. Social-historical world is a symbolic world that is formed by human mind and should not be generally taken as a relationship material thing. The researcher opted to use positivism research paradigm that is objective rather than phenomological research philosophy that is subjective.

Positivism philosophy requires the researcher to remain external to the process and observations are mainly pre-planned and highly structured in accordance to expected results within a framework that is controlled as far as possible. The researcher opted for positivism philosophy because the research data received through phenomological research philosophy may not be as rich as that of positivism.

Research Approach

The approach for this research was quantitative in nature. The research entailed statistical analysis of collected data to answer the research questions as well as to find out whether the primary research related with the research from the literature review. Quantitative research approach was essential for this study as it helped to shed light on the relationship that exists between various variables that relate to the high rate of divorce in Saudi (Yin 1994).

Research Strategy

Saunders et al (2007) points the importance of selecting an appropriate research strategy. He argued that the choice of a research strategy is guided by objectives and research questions formulated. Other factors that determine research strategy to be adopted are philosophical underpinnings, time available as well as the extent of available knowledge. The researcher used a case study approach for this research and conduct appropriate sampling.

The researcher used purposive sampling to sample 66 Saudi Arabian women who participated in the study. The women sampled ranged between 25 to 35 years old. The researcher selected Jeddah because Saudi Arabia is a large country where many tribes make up what are today the major cities of Saudi Arabia. Jeddah is the most liberal and tolerant city in Saudi Arabia (Bryman & Bell 2007).

Data Collection

The researcher collected data using a questionnaire. The questionnaire used had both close-ended as well as open-ended questions. The close-ended questions required the respondents to select the answer from the options provided. On the other hand, open-ended questions did not limit the respondent to specific options. Open-ended questions were important in bringing insight into the study which the researcher could have overlooked.

The study also comprised of a secondary research that was conducted by reviewing relevant sources such Journals, books and internet articles. The literature review conducted entailed a review of past studies conducted on the subject as well as the role theory (Yin 1984).

Consent and Ethical Considerations

In order to ensure ethical considerations, the researcher explained to the respondents the purpose of the research and ensured them that the data collected was to be used solely for the purpose given. The researcher allowed the respondents only to answer those questions that they felt comfortable answering. 14. Possible Limitations

Because of lack of enough time and financial constraints, the researcher used a small sample size. This limited the reliability of the results as bigger samples are highly recommended in order to increase the reliability of the study (Saunders et al 2009

Data Presentation and Analysis

Education Level of Saudi Arabian Women
Education Level of Saudi Arabian Women.
Sodia Arabia Working Women.
Sodia Arabia Working Women.
Saudi Arabian’s perception towards how Women should be
Saudi Arabian’s perception towards how Women should be.
Saudi Arabian’s perception towards how Men should be.
Saudi Arabian’s perception towards how Men should be.

Discussion of the Results

The analysis of the data collected indicates that the high number of educated Saudi Arabian women may be linked to the high divorce rate in the country. The analysis indicates that over 48.5% of the women interviewed had atleast a bachalor degree. Approximately 39.4% had finished college or high school and with approximately less than 12.1% having high school qualification and below.

As discused from the preference theory, it shows that many Saudi Arabian women are nowadays devoted to concentrate on their education in order to empower themselves intelectually. As a result, many of the educated women had tended to remain unmarried or not to have children after being maried in order to have adequate time for their careers. That is the reason why out of the 66 interviewed approximately 59% were single and about 7% divorced. Thus, majority of Saudi Arabian women fall into the category of work-centered who comprise of those women who prioritioze work.

However, majority of Saudi Arabian women who are highly educated prefer remaining unmarried, it is suprisingly that many of them prefer working part. Therefore, instead for them falling in the work-centered category, they fall into the adaptive women category who aspire to balance family life and work. The reason why these women are more inclined to adaptive woman category maybe few opportunity availlable for them to prioritize work.

The literature conducted indicated that many of the courses that are avillable for women in Saudi Arabia are teaching professions. In addition, majority of those Saudi Arabian women who are married are not allowed to work by their husbands as they require them to stay at home and look after the kids. The survey results indicated that it is only less than 6% of Saudi Arabian women who prefer to stay at home and take care of their children.

However, since many of them do not prefer staying at home and taking care of the children they tend to divorce in order to get opportunities to work. Although Saudi Arabian women require to work to support their family financially, majority of them over 95.5 % require their husbands to take the leading responsibility of provinding for the family as well as giving the family moral support.

Despite the high eduaction level of Saudi Arabian women, majority of them prefer being matrimonial marriages, but be given opportunities to work in order to finacially support their families. Many women prefer working part time in order to have suffiecient time to give the family enough attension. The lack of understanding between Saudi Arabian men and women is the main cause for the high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia that has gone to a high of 62%.

Saudi Arabia men cotenmplate that they will be robbed the rightful position as the providers for their families once their wives start working. However, the Saudi Arabian women consider men as the main providers for their family as indicated by the research findings. They aspire to work in order to supplement the men earnings as well as to be in a position to take care for the family in case the man deceases or after a divorce.


There is a high rate of divorce in Saudi Arabia with as high as 62% divorce rate being recorded. The high divorce rate is associated with increased education of Saudi Arabian women that necessisitate them to work in order to supplement the family earnings. However, this issue has caused a great controversy to Saudi Arabian women who do not consider their wives should work.


  1. Saudi Arabian government should enact policies that promote women to take professional courses such as engineering, medicine among others.
  2. Saudi Arabian government should design work in order to facilitate Saudi Arabian women to participate in part time jobs.
  3. Saudi Arabian ministry of education should incorporate in its curriculum programs that facilitate the concept of equity of male and female.

Reference List

AlMunajjed, M. (2010). Women’s Employment in Saudi Arabia a Major Challenge. Philadelphia, PL: Temple University Press.

Bartlett, T., & Rhode, L. (2010). Gender and Law: Theory, Doctrine and Commentary. New York, USA: Foundation Press.

Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2007). Business Research Methods. Oxford University Press.

Fatany, S. (2007). Saudi Women towards a New Era. Saudi Arabia, A: Ghainaa publications.

Levitt, S.7 Dubner, S.J. (2005). Key Issues in Women’s Work. New York: Prentice Hall Mohamed, A. (2010). Women’s Education in Saudi Arabia the Way Forward. Philadelphia, PL: Temple University Press.

Saunders, M., Lewis, P. & Thornhill, A. (2009). Research Methods For Business Students Prentice Hall, Harlow.

Vogel, F. (2000). Islamic law and legal system: studies of Saudi Arabia. Leiden: Brill.

Weisberg, D. K. (1993). Feminist Legal Theory: Foundations. Philadelphia. PL: Temple University Press.

Yin, R. (1994). Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Sage Publications: London.

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