When you read an article about Saudi women, especially in western media, it would, unfortunately, mostly shows a negative view about the situation of women in Saudi. In some cases even demonizes the whole society for individuals acts.
It‘s true that there were cases of abuse like in any other country in the world, however, this doesn’t represent the whole society.
In this short article you will briefly learn about the point of view of traditional Saudi society towards women.
Generally speaking, women have always been respected in Saudi. It is just an act, which might be described as overprotection, that foreign societies perhaps did not understand yet.
A Saudi male always feel responsible for anything bad that could happen to women in his family. Therefore, females would traditionally always be with a male companion to protect them and look after them no matter what the situation is.
Traditional saudis consider it disrespectful, if a man sits and leaves a woman standing in public places (e.g. airport busses). Also looking directly into ladys eyes is considered impolite to many, and if standing in a line with men, women will usually be served first.
Saudi women are well educated, they account for 60% of university graduates. When it comes to choosing to get educatd abroad, saudi women were granted scholarship from the government as males and were even offered to grant their male companion a monthly loan to be with her just to satisfy the society’s will.
The situation has changed in the last couple of years and the society is slowly being less overprotective nowadays, especially in big cities like Riyadh and Jeddah.
Since 2013, women have been part of the Shura councel. 30 out of 150 members of the council are women, who were choosen based on their experience in different fields.
There are many other examples to prove that saudi women are living normal life, they can lead and make decisions. It‘s just a different cultural.
Lubna Al olayan
Lubna Al Olayan is a Saudi business woman, who‘s been running her family business for decades. Al Olayan is also chairwoman of a major Saudi bank.
Ghada Al Mutairi
Ghada is a Saudi scholar, who holds more than 10 patents in the field of nanomedicine.
Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United States of America.
Khawla Al kuraya
Khawla is another researcher but in the medical field at a hospital. She’s also the director of a major Center for Children’s Cancer and Research in the capital city Riyadh.