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Saudi men not clicking
with Saudi women

Sunday, January 19, 2003

ABU DHABI 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 women.

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 suitor.

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 increase.

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 recommendations.

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.

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