ABU DHABI Ñ Saudi Arabia's domestic policy council has urged its growing population of single
women to demonstrate flexibility in considering marriage proposals.
The council launched the study last year amid increasing complaints from
Saudis that their daughters were unable to find eligible males for marriage.
The Saudis asserted that many men preferred Western nationals over local
The Shura Council, which examines domestic issues and makes
recommendations to the government, has called on single women and their
families to lower their demands from suitors. The council called on the
women and families to lower the dowry required from the family of the male
A study by King Saud University asserted that there are up to 1.5
million unmarried women in the kingdom. The study, authored by sociology
professor Abdullah Al-Fouzan, predicted that the single women population
could grow to four million by 2006 as the divorce rate continues to
The Shura examined the issue of single women by convening 50 education
and other experts. The experts, all of them women, were asked to provide
The resulting study called on women to be more modest in their demands
from male suitors. The study cited the increase in Saudi unemployment and
drop in living standards.
Other recommendations included cooperation by the media, government and
religious authorities to change attitudes. This included the refusal by an
increasing number of university-educated women to wed those who have a lower
level of education.
The study said women are increasingly using the Internet or matchmakers
to find spouses. But the experts said this was not a long-term alternative
for finding a mate.