Saudi Arabia Essay

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Saudi Arabia is a country in Southeast Asia with a population of approximately 19 million people. The country was established in 1932 by King Abdul Aziz Ibn Abdul Rahman Al Saud. In Saudi Arabia, female literacy is estimated to be at 50 per cent, and male literacy at 72 per cent (UNDP, 2003). According to the 1992 census, 4.6 million of Saudi Arabian residents were foreign workers. This explains why in Saudi Arabia women constitute seven per cent of the work force in 1990 and four per cent in 2003. However, the Saudi literacy rate in 1970, in comparison to the literacy rates in the Middle East and North Africa, was 15 per cent for men and two per cent for women.
In recent years, no sector of Saudi society has been subject to more debates and
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Historically, Muslim Arab women participated in all aspects of life politically, socially, and economically, as is briefly discussed in the section on women’s education. Having grown up in Saudi society, it is clear that women’s training and education “ensure that at every level of competence and leadership there will be a place for them that is inferior and subordinate to the positions of men” (Smith, 1987, p.34). This is what’s called “glass ceiling” and it pertains to many Arab Muslim societies as well as some Western societies.
A study of women and education in Saudi Arabia must take into account social and political events in recent years: Saudi Arabia was formally proclaimed a country only 70 years ago. Since that proclamation, many unique changes have taken place (Yamani, 1996, p.265). Issues such as women’s right to drive, where women could and should work, and the types of education appropriate for women were all hot topics.
However, discussions around increasing women’s freedom and mobility through education and work were perceived from the very beginning by the religious groups as dangerous “Western ideas” (Arebi, 1994,

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