Jun 27, 2006

What's it like to be a Saudi woman?

It's no picnic--even if you're educated, wealthy and good-looking.
Her first shocking lesson came at an early age. The family promised to send her to medical school if she achieved A+ grade in high school. She did, but they changed their mind. That was her life’s dream and it was brutally shattered. Instead of becoming a heart surgeon, as she hoped, she is now a high school teacher. Why? Because this is a job where she doesn’t have to mix with men!

Later, there were more shocking lessons. Her suitors were turned away, one after another. Reasons varied, but mostly it was about their social and economic class. Since she inherited a fortune from her father and has a good salary, her brothers suspected that any man with lesser fortunes was after her money.

By the time the “right” suitor arrived, they had already soaked most of her savings. With promises of profitable investment and wiser management they divided her inheritance as well as that of their mother and sisters among themselves. If persuasion didn’t work, they applied social pressure. A woman who refuses to accommodate her own sons and brothers is called names and denied peace of mind.

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