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Saudi Arabia Women; Can an Arab Muslim Arabian Woman Work in KSA?

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Tony worked across Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, Al-Khobar, and Jeddah, where he met his wife, who has worked there for 12 years.

Muslim Women in Saudi Arabia

In Saudi Arabia women are heavily restricted with regards to their freedoms to the point that many would ask if they can work or even travel alone. Saudi Arabian women and any other female who enters the ultra religious kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have to abide by the many rules and regulations enforced within this country. Many of these rules would be considered sexist in any other country and someone somewhere would be in court if they tried to enforce these rules out of Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabian Women are not entitled to the same freedoms that we in the west take for granted, this hub will look at everything from how to dress, education, can a Muslim woman work, driving, segregation, abuse, marriage, divorce, adultery, punishment even death by stoning for an Arab woman. Arabic Muslim Women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) have many restrictions, this article will explore those restrictions.

If you are used to the freedoms that we all enjoy in the western world you may be shocked at the restrictions placed upon the women in this ultra religious country. The observations in this article are my own from working in Saudi Arabia where I have been for almost 4 years witnessing the treatment of women here in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Women Have to wear Abaya

How Arabic Muslim Women Have to Dress even for work

How Arabic Muslim Women Have to Dress even for work

Saudi Arabic Muslim Women can Enjoy the Sun too.

Saudi Arabic Muslim Women can Enjoy the Sun too.

Other Rules in Saudi Arabia

If you would like to know about the various other rules and regulations that are enforced within KSA read this about the Rules in Saudi Arabia.

Clothing for Women in Saudi Arabia

Every woman in Saudi Arabia is required to be covered from head to foot in what they call an Abaya, a large black robe that covers every part of the body. This is also accompanied by a veil to cover the face leaving only the eyes showing and a headscarf. Some women here in Saudi Arabia even wearing black gloves and a full veil so that nothing of their body is showing!

Many women in Saudi Arabia that I have spoken to believe that this is their religious obligation and they do this willingly, after all they have been brought up this way from very young. Children are not expected to cover up, however once they start to “develop” they are covered up.

Younger Saudi girls that I have spoken to who have travelled overseas and have access to “western” TV cannot wait for the day when they can get away without wearing it! In fact I have seen many that try to find ways to get around the rules, leaving Abaya's unbuttoned to show fashionable clothes beneath and many no longer covering their heads.

Many non-saudi women in Saudi Arabia do not bother to cover their faces and some do not cover their hair. It is not compulsory to cover the face, but the hair should be covered, it is not uncommon for older Saudis or Mutawa (Muslim religious police) to tell women to cover their hair if not covered – always best to do as told as you could be arrested!

With the greater access to TV (MTV seems popular) and the many western programs that the young Muslim Saudi girls have access to it is in my opinion only a matter of time (significant amount though) before too many women in Saudi Arabia will be demanding greater freedoms in clothing and other areas.

I have heard a story (I have no Idea if it is true or not but have heard from several different sources) of a girls school that caught fire – The Mutawa (religious police) pushed the girls back into the school as they were trying to leave without their Abayas, it is said that the Mutawa told the girls that it was better for them to lose their lives than their souls, many girls perished because of this!

Saudi Arabia

Lashes for Being Alone with a Man Even for an Elderly Woman

How can Saudi women Date?

You may be asking yourself how do you go about meeting a member of the opposite sex in Saudi Arabia, this guide to dating in Saudi Arabia may help as well as entertain.

Segregation of Arabic Women

In Saudi Arabia Women are not allowed to mix privately with any man who is not either their husband or a direct blood relative. This is a serious crime here and you could be arrested (both parties) and punished with many lashes.

If you go to a restaurant here in Saudi Arabia you will find two sections, one for men and the other for families (women and “families”). This is also copied for banks and other institutions where there will be a separate entrance and facilities for the women.

No woman should publicly talk or be seen with a man who is not a direct blood relative, she could be arrested for doing so and punished. You will not find courting couples taking a stroll along the beach and staring into each other’s eyes over a candlelit dinner!

Most Saudi homes have separate areas for the men and women, when families entertain guests and other family members the sexes will be split and they will socialize totally separately. This is also mirrored in the facilities offered in places that cater for Saudi Families, I regularly rent small villas with pools for the weekend, they tend to be split in two with two pools to keep the sexes apart.

Discrimination Against Women in Saudi Arabia

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Education of Arabic Muslim Women in Saudi Arabia

Whilst I have not had the opportunity to go into a Saudi school here I have had the opportunity to talk with a number of Saudi women that I work with here and the wives of a number of my friends. The women seem to actually be better educated and in my opinion better motivated work wise than the men (In Saudi Arabia women are schooled separately to the men).

The Arab women appear to have had a much better education than the men that I know, or they actually listened and learned in school!

However saying this, the less well off families that I know with multiple children (families are large here, several children not being uncommon) would rather invest in their sons getting further education than their daughters. There are therefore a large number of Saudi girls that are not getting the same educational opportunities as the men.

In addition to this I have also been informed by women here that they have been given additional tests and expected to obtain higher grades by some male tutors within the universities here in the hope that they will fail! This however seems to backfire, as the women therefore work harder and achieve more to ensure that they pass.

Men here really can do no wrong, I have run many training courses here as a consultant, the Saudi men will almost always arrive late, if at all, they do not participate, and they always have to pass! The standing instruction here is that Saudi men always pass everything, even if they have done nothing to deserve it! However I have run some "official" training courses that have exams that have to be taken, the few Saudi Men that have attended have always failed and refused to re-sit.

Saudi Women Cannot Associate with Single men

Woman in Saudi Arabia

Woman in Saudi Arabia

Women in the workplace?

Women in the workplace?

Still Want to Work in Saudi Arabia?

If you are considering working in Saudi Arabia this guide to finding a job in Saudi Arabia will help.

Working Arabic Muslim Women in Saudi Arabia

They claim that a large percentage of Saudi women work, I would like to know where because I don’t see them! The number of women that I have seen working is very small indeed.

You do not see them working in any stores in the malls or in restaurants or anywhere else public! I spent several months working as a business consultant going around many business and saw no Saudi women working in any factories or any industrial type setting.

The first Saudi women that I saw working after almost 9 months were in the company that I worked for until recently, a Dubai owned company not a pure Saudi one. Since then I have met a few more women working in PR and marketing roles in a few other small companies.

Other than this the only other place I have seen working women in Saudi Arabia are in the hospitals – the nurses etc. This is the biggest employer of women by far in the Kingdom, however most of them are expat women, mainly Filipino nurses and Indonesian cleaners.

When women are working in Saudi Arabia they are required to have a separate area for their offices and relaxation, the company is inspected on a regular basis by the "ministry" to ensure that these rules are not broken!

Hot Saudi Muslim Woman to Drive

Women Drivers in Saudi Arabia

We often joke about women drivers in the west, but you should first see how Saudi men behave on the roads and look at how Saudis drive (and crash!)

Arab Women Driving in Saudi Arabia

Women in Saudi Arabia are not allowed to drive, it is not actually against the law as such but it is not accepted at all! In this way the Saudi women are very much controlled by their men!

If women in Saudi Arabia want to go anywhere (and remember it between 40 and 50 degrees Centigrade most days and you have to wear a big black cloak so walking is not a real option) they have to be driven by a family member. I have seen women in Saudi Arabia being driven by very young sons, by young I mean 10 years old!

A driver if the “law” is strictly applied is not acceptable as the Saudi Woman would be alone with someone who is not her direct blood relative, however most of the time people turn a blind eye to the practice of using a driver. It is not unheard of for overzealous police to arrest women with their drivers and even taxi drivers!

I have seen two women driving in Saudi Arabia in over 3 years here, the first around a car park late at night but the second in a gas station in the middle of the desert between Riyadh and Jeddah, she was blatantly driving a huge pickup and clearly did not care who saw her! I also hear rumors of a number of “well to do” women who drive, using vehicles that have all the windows blacked out so that no one can see inside.

It is generally believed that women will soon be allowed to drive here, there is a huge campaign under way to allow women behind the wheel.

This has been helped recently when a respected cleric here said that Saudi women should breastfeed their drivers to make them their sons, in this way it would not be unlawful for them to be alone with their drivers! I’m serious, this is not a joke! The women here have seized on this fatwa and are threatening to follow through with the suggestion unless the government allows them to drive!

Muslim Women and Marriage in Saudi Arabia

Muslim marriage is something that is arranged by the parents in the main for their daughters, although many men here take second, third and even fourth wives from the growing number of divorcees and expat women. Not all of these marriages being strictly fully legal, you can have a “marriage of convenience” under the laws here very easily as long as you are a Muslim.

Many Saudi women here are married off very young, there is no legal age of consent for marriage or sex in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. There have been several cases recently with regard to young girls of 9 or 10 years of age that have been married off for money (SOLD!) to much older men, they have then sought divorces. (Only a few are reported but I am sure that there will be many more that are not reported as the Saudi girls are not seeking to escape as they know no better.)

Divorce for a man is very easy for the man, he only has to tell a woman on three occasions and it is all over – as simple as that! For a woman it is much harder to escape, if possible at all!

Most of the Saudi women that I have met through work are divorced, they have been married off young to immature Saudi "boys" who don't know how to deal with far more mature better educated women, these marriages quickly ending in divorce by the men who can't cope! The Saudi women then have to cope on their own often with young children!

Entering and Leaving Saudi Arabia

If you are going to enter or leave the kingdom of Saudi Arabia this guide to Saudi Visas may be of help, remember that you need a visa to leave KSA as well as get in!

A Warning to Women Wanting to Marry a Saudi

I have heard several reports now from people sending me emails in response to a number of the articles I have written and from other sources regarding women who have married a Saudi and then found that they are unable to escape from their spouses when behavior changes inside the kingdom.

A woman cannot travel outside the Kingdom without the permission of their husband, and nor can the children. I have had reports from women (and relatives of women) who have been unable to leave abusive husbands or have lost their children due to these restrictions.

I know several women now who have been forced to leave the kingdom leaving children behind and have no way or returning or making contact with their children!

Arabic Woman Stoned to Death for Adultery

Adultery in Saudi Arabia - Penalties for Arabic Women

Although it appears to be a sport for the men, Adultery is really a very big No for the women here in Saudi Arabia. Remember men here can have four wives and are allowed to have sex with their slaves (which is how many treat their domestic staff.)

The penalty for adultery here is death by stoning, so before you go running off chasing after someone else’s wife or husband remember that! There should however under Muslim sharia law be witnesses to the act and so on, however the judge can still rule against a woman even without evidence as in a recent case that has been publicized in Iran.

A woman there was acquitted of a charge of Adultery, she was then later tried for the murder of her husband and again found innocent, the judge however decided that she was guilty of the first crime that she was already found innocent of as there was no evidence and he sentenced her to death by stoning. Due to international pressure the sentence was changed to death by hanging and a news blackout was put in place.

A Saudi woman in Jeddah was gang raped by a group of men, the men were all found guilty and beheaded, the husband of the victim however called for the death sentence for his Saudi wife as she had been unfaithful to him! This was later commuted to prison and lashes for the victim due to an outcry!

News Report, Female Rape VICTIM punished with 200 Lashes

Exercise for Arabic Muslim Women in Saudi Arabia

I hate to say it but many Saudi women are overweight and unfit. Their lifestyle does not generally allow them to get much in the way of exercise and most households have cheap foreign maids to do all of the housework. Therefore most Saudi women literally do nothing all day.

Saudis have a very sweet tooth, the sweet section of a large meal could be many different varieties of different (very tasty) puddings. There is a huge diabetes problem and obesity problem here in the kingdom because of it.

Gyms for ladies in Saudi Arabia are actually against the law unless part of a recognized hospital, so there are also few options for the women with regard to getting fit and losing weight. You can see many Saudi Ladies walking around various blocks in the early evening just before it gets dark as a means to exercise.

Arabic Muslim Women Traveling Alone in Saudi Arabia.

It is inadvisable to walk alone as a woman, especially at night. An unaccompanied woman in Saudi Arabia will generally be regarded as a prostitute and treated as such! Saudi men (and other nationalities if they have been here too long) will often stop their cars next to women alone in the hope of picking them up! I have often seen men stop their cars next to my wife when they have not seen me loading the car while she has been stood there on the side of the road, they soon speed off when they see me.

My wife’s friend was grabbed by a man who tried to drag her into his car, she escaped but had massive bruises up her arm, we only live one building apart. The police were totally uninterested as she was only a Filipina!

My wife several years ago was grabbed by a man who put something over her nose and mouth that made her dizzy and dragged her into his car, luckily she carries a knife in her handbag and he soon let her out when she started to cut up his car seats and threatening to do the same to him!

How to Beat Your Muslim Wife

How do Saudi Men treat Arabic Muslim Women

In public Saudi men will treat women very politely if they are not of their own family, I have however seen them shouting at and striking their wives and daughters and maids publicly. They can best be described as bullies, they are afraid to mistreat other Saudi ladies because they don't know which family they belong to!

In private most Saudi men that I know are quite frankly sex mad pigs, excuse my words but they actually shock me with their behavior and I thought that I was un-shockable. They are happy to beat their wives and boast about it, they cheat constantly if they get the chance.

As to treatment of non Saudi women, they really do treat them like pieces of meat and do with them whatever they like with almost no worry about consequences! After all a woman in Saudi Arabia could not go to the police to complain about rape as she would be in trouble for being alone with the man in the first place! I have a few "friends" that I no longer associate with because of how they have forced themselves on poor women that they have managed to persuade to attend parties! As a woman in Saudi Arabia do not go anywhere alone with men (especially Saudi men) unless you really know them well and trust them, it is not rape if you went there willingly and it is you that will be in trouble!

Many run-away maids that I know (and I know many working illegally or looking for work) have run away due to sexual advances and actual rape by family members where they worked. I also know many that put up with this because they need the money to send back to their families as they are the only source of income!

I have one "friend" who actually rang me laughing to boast that he had picked up a cute Filipina maid and taken her back to his place (his bachelor pad rather than either of his wives apartments.) However this girl had refused his advances so he had drugged her to get what he wanted, the woman did not wake in the morning and he was boasting about how he had managed to dump her outside a hospital without being seen!

Saudi Arabian Women's freedom

Help for Expat Women in Saudi Arabia

If you are still considering working in Saudi Arabia as a female expat I would advise you to read the rest of my series on working in Saudi Arabia. The following hub is a summary of everything you need to know about being in Saudi Arabia; Being an Expat in KSA


Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 09, 2014:

Saudi keeps making advances but it is very much a case of three steps forward then two steps back. They are very much influenced by the clerics who want to maintain their hold on the country but they are slowly moving forward.

Snakesmum on October 08, 2014:

From what I've seen on the news, and now after reading your article, KSA is not a place for any woman. The more power the men have over women, the more they seem to want. Not a good thing at all. Hopefully things will improve, but it doesn't seem as if it will in the near future.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on July 22, 2014:

Hi a girl, of course there are good and bad in any society. However in my experience the Saudi culture breeds men that act very poorly towards women.

Hope that you have the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia and see for yourself. Feel free to ignore my warnings.

a girl on July 22, 2014:

its sounds like stupid.. you are just trying to insult Saudi Men. may be you are jealous of them. Every country will have both good and bad things. i think you are just pulling their bad hand.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 09, 2014:

Hi Pinay Nurse,

My wife was also a nurse there in Saudi, she has many stories to tell about men mis-behaving there in the hospitals and elsewhere. It really is not a place for a woman to be alone.

pinay nurse on January 09, 2014:

i just want to share my experience working there. i worked there as a nurse on a polyclinic on the makkah regions for almost two years, when i went there i told myself if you don't want trouble avoid the men. dont look to them in the eye, don't show too much skin don't face them while talking to them and don't be left alone with them because they will be encouraged to flirt with you, some do verbally flirt and one way to stop them is to give them a painful injection of tell them we are married (i enjoy giving painful injections too he he, there are techniques to make them really painful) we can walk about the streets during the night after our duty hours but always be sure that you dont go around some dark corners and always go where there is a crowd, wearing the abaya and niquab is a certain advantage you see. they let us women go ahead on the front of a queue they mutter "mushkilah sister" in the airports and banks. i have encountered lots of happily married couples there. but what bothers me most were the young boys, in one occasion or two there was a boy of maybe thirteen we were standing on the reception area then suddenly he was reaching his crotch masturbating under his thob while smirking at us we called told him "eib" (not good) then left him. two of my colleagues had experienced men brushing of there erections against their derriere they were just standing there doing their job then the men passing by just budge from behind then leave like nothing happened. there are lots of respectable men there at one point or another i enjoy telling stories and socializing with them my work place allows me to socialized to both gender without repercussions. if you try to see saudi without the sex abuse part and all it is a very good country, they are generous to the poor, the health care provided by the government for its citizen is free, they have social assistance to the poor they are sheltered and feed even though not much but at least they don't leave their citizens on the streets to die, ow they give incentives to most of the saudis who have the initiative to look for jobs not to wait around and spend their parents fortune.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 30, 2012:

Hi Michael, I hope that other than your wife being completely housebound during your your stay that you enjoyed your time.

Michael on October 30, 2012:

My company transferred me to Saudi Arabia. For the 18 months I was there, my beautiful wife. Was practically housebound, while I was working. On the weekends, when we ventured out, I insisted she cover her hair. I felt poorly for insisting, but she was amazing the entire time we were there. I told her I was very fortunate to have her by my stride and she said she was fortunate to have a husband who treats her with respect.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 22, 2012:

If you are coming on a business visa you can leave any time you want to. Just stick to work and if you go to the malls go with a female group. Stick to all the rules and you will be fine. Saudi in many ways is far safer than many other countries.

Business woman on October 22, 2012:

I am terrified by all the comments about how bad women can be treated in Saudi. I have to travel on business in about a week and I don't really know how I will have to behave there, as I am international trainee consultant for a company in a medical field. I won't have anyone that I know there, the sponsors are providing everything for me, but still I am scared to trust them. I what would you advice me to do to feel safer? Thanks!

Lkya Marujah on October 21, 2012:

Thanks for the reply LeanMan...

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on October 20, 2012:

You cannot commit adultery over the internet! However what she is doing is not allowed by their rules and if she is found guilty of doing something that goes against the rules in Saudi she will lose her job - in fact the likelihood would be that she would lose her job even if she were only accused of something.

Lkya Marujah on October 20, 2012:

What is the sanction if a woman (an expatriate working in a big company) in Saudi Arabia would be proven to having adultery or having a relationship with a married man through internet interaction or long distance calls or text. The woman is in Riyadh and the married man is in the US. Will she be stoned to death? Or will she lost her job?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 21, 2012:

Hi Bottle Jinn

Thanks for reading, nice to hear your perspective from Egypt. I think one day we will see some serious changes in Saudi, the balance pf power will certainly shift towards the youth in the next decade or two, not quick enough for some I know but Saudi will never be a quick country to change.

bottle jinn from Egypt on August 20, 2012:

I like your article. You are well informed for sure I have heard many things living here in egypt and similarities. Being married in Egypt the husband can divorce even with words but the wife has to actually get a lawyer and go before the judge to get divorced and prove reason. A man can get it done in 1 day even if the wife objects, also there is a divorce that is in effect for 3 months but the man can revoke this divorce before the 3 months time wihtout the wifes conscent so in the end she may not even be divorced. it give the men a chance to manipulate the woman. a woman has to wait 3 months after divorce before she can marry or even look for anyone else.

i read about the woman who got gang raped i didn't know what happened to the men atleast they got beheaded lol i was aware she got punished.. for going out with a man to start with. i dont agree with it but she should have known not to trust the men. it is common for men to convince a woman to do things and then call her cheap after she does it. the sad part is they claim this is islam but it sint. because in islam the women have rights. the men only read one part of a verse to be able to do what they want and quote the Qur'an. when really what they do is haram. aznd yes i agree saudi men are aggressive.. arabic men are agreessive even if they are nice about it. and about "dollys" comment all kinds of women are like that not just saudi;s. women are threats to each other as competition , blame the men for this. there is no sisterhood. how can there be? lol

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on June 02, 2012:

Thank you for your comments dolly, I would say however that most of the Saudi women I know are quite pleasant.

Dolly on June 01, 2012:

Yes, LeanMan, Arabs are shameless and very aggressive men and love it like that.However Arab woman, mostly mothers are extremely aggressive, the fact that they cover their body is because Arabian women gossip and backbite each other constantly and constantly jealous of others

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on May 24, 2012:

Hi Mohammed, I know what I see and what I hear in the country. But it seems to me that many locals just believe what they are told to believe such as comments on here that the divorce rate is very low and things like that.. I wish your country was as so many of you wish to believe but it is not!

Mohammed on May 24, 2012:

You are not the one who decides the best for us it is us who decide

I think my point is clear

and FYI I am a Saudi when I say Saudis like the way they behave I am more honset than you because I am a member of this society

this doesn't mean your crab is right because we know the best for us

I say you don't know any thing in Saudi and your responds explain that when you saudis deported Misyar is widespread and so on say this anywhere around Saudi and you will know how stupid is that

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on May 20, 2012:

Hi Mr Nice, it is not just the "rich" in Saudi that do very much what they want, many of my Saudi friends have at one time or another been caught with drugs, alcohol or doing something that they should not; in every case they have just been slapped on the wrists by the police and told not to do it.. However expats that are caught are arrested, jailed and deported..

Mr Nice from North America on May 20, 2012:

Hi LeanMan,

I found out from your Hub about alcohol, drugs and prostitution in KSA. Members of Royal family and their rich circle live like western culture.

Saudi Royal family and their rich circle do everything underground inside the KSA and when they travel outside the KSA.

The Wiki Leaks cables confirm truth about the information you provided: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs, and sex.

Saudi is a real Muslim country where there is no Islamic laws for the Royal family and the rich people.

Islamic laws are imposed upon the ordinary citizens and they are forced to obey the laws in KSA.

I do not know anything about KSA, just learned some new facts.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on May 20, 2012:

Hi Mr.Nice, thanks for taking the time to read and make comment;the use of Misyar is quite widespread in Saudi, even amongst the expats to allow them to get together quickly and "legally". Although I don't think too many make the effort for just an hour or two!

Saudi is a real Muslim country and many of its people are very devout believers, however like any country and religion it has its fair share of individuals who can behave very differently!

Mr Nice from North America on May 19, 2012:

Wow LeanMan,

Your article is a real eye opener; I never thought that alcohol, drugs or prostitution even existed on the soil of Saudi Arabia.

Because I thought, Saudi Arabia is the only country where strict Islamic laws are enforced. However, Arab men’s sexual behavior stories were not new to the entire world or me. What I knew was that Arab men travel to other countries for sex and I think you are right they are like sex mad pigs. Arab men’s great weakness is indulgence in Sex.

In 1999, Saudi and Egyptian government created or made into law “Misyar” or “Mutah” which is a form of temporary marriage or legalized prostitution. Mutah is only practiced in the Shiite Muslim religion. This form of marriage is a temporary agreement and can be of any duration of time one hour or month or years.

Definition of Misyar” or “Mutah”.

Marriage institution in Islam, allowing for a lesser form of relationship between man and woman than normal marriage, zawaj. Misyar is an official relationship between man and woman, but does not involve that the two live together, nor that the man is economically responsible. Marriage institution in Islam, allowing for a lesser form of relationship between man and woman than normal marriage, zawaj. Misyar is an official relationship between man and woman, but does not involve that the two live together, nor that the man is economically responsible.

Read further at this link.

Please find out what WikiLeaks cables stories are.

Wiki Leaks cables: Saudi princes throw parties boasting drink, drugs, and sex

Saudi royal family corruption (1 2)

I am really in shock to read all this happening in the world’s biggest Muslim country. Do you believe Saudi Arabia is a true Muslim country practicing Islamic laws?

Your Hub is really very well written on a very unique topic.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on May 16, 2012:

I remember dealing with a very irate Indian who came from Birmingham who had been screamed at by his Saudi boss "as if he were the teaboy." All I can say is that some Saudis are better than others and some are worse, in much the same way you would be treated by respect and looked down at by another even in the west.

A Hye on May 15, 2012:

Hi LeanMan

I had a question iff you could part with your experience.

I am a British Asian Muslim looking to work in SA however quite concerned that Saudis seem to treat all people from the Indian subcontinent quite badly regardless of their status. Although I will technically be a western expat living in a compound to Saudis I assume only the skin colour will matter. Is this assumption true or have you had any experience of this?

Many thanks once again.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on April 04, 2012:

Hi Tasneem, as long as you have your marriage certificate it should be recognized within Saudi Arabia - you can always check by just sending a copy to the Saudi Embassy in your country and asking them to verify if it is acceptable.

You may have problems finding work in the hospitality sector, especially if it were to be "customer facing" as you are a woman and should not be dealing with men. Best thing to do is get online and search for what jobs are available through and other sites.

If you do find work and your husband too you will have separate sponsors and may find that the time you have available to be with each other is limited through your respective sponsors. I have emails from some that have been separated into company accommodation "due to company policy" and even had their city of work moved which has resulted in married couples being split apart until contracts are finished! However as a Muslim you will almost certainly get better treatment than non-muslims.

Tasneem RSA on April 03, 2012:


I am a married South African woman, thank you for posting about living in KSA as I am currently deciding on whether it will be worth my while to work in KSA for the next 2 years. I will be accompanied by my husband and would like to know something, We are married islamically but legally we are not, do you know if we will need to get married in court? In RSA we are recognised in a court of law.Also,I currently have a job in the hospitality industry, what are my chances of getting the same job in KSA, my husband is looking to do a teaching job in KSA,how would this conflict with my plans to work in the hospitality sector?

Also with regards to a few of the above comments, everyone is entitled to their opinion as everyone experiences different things, some might be tolerant towards certain things whereas others are intolerant. As a muslim woman living in a western society, I have my freedom to do as I please, with freedom comes a lot of responsibility and we do not always appreciate what we have. Personally I do not agree with how woman are treated in Saudi, please do not mistake the way Saudi people treat each other as if that's how it should be Islamically, Islam is a religion of peace. My husband does not disrespect or abuse me, in the same breath we shouldn't generalise and paint everyone with the same brush. In every country you will get certain individuals who will abuse their power and treat others badly. I am looking forward to experiencing a much stricter and crime free society and I am looking forward to covering up and not have men gawking at me and being able to leave work to do my prays as currently we do not have this is RSA.

Keep up the good work!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on March 23, 2012:

Hi Mohamed, I don't mind you leaving comments but please be relevant to the subject of the article rather than trying to preach random bits of scripture. This article is about Saudi Arabian women working and I don't see the relevance of what you have written!


Sahih Muslim Hadith

Hadith 7058 Narrated by


Allah's Apostle (peace be upon him) said: The world is a prison-house for a believer and Paradise for a non-believer.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on March 18, 2012:

Hi Rawan,

I guess like in any other society in any other part of the world you have your good people and your bad people.

You obviously have a good family and enjoy your life there, but I have met many Saudis who would like to leave and don't like the various rules especially those enforced on women in Saudi Arabia. I attended a family party not too long ago and spent most of the evening with all of the young members of the family who wanted to talk about life overseas, about 20 of them aged from teens to early 20s and all of them expressed a desire to move overseas to live if the rules in Saudi Arabia do not change considerably.

I hope that you continue to live happily and enjoy your life in Saudi, I know I enjoy mine.

Rawan on March 18, 2012:

I just would like to fix the last bit or phragaraph,some miswritten words,so here it is


One last thing,about the Abyaa or Hijab most i know it illegal to take it off here ,but i can assure you most girls here are comfortable with wearing it.You can see many saudi girls still wearing this thing overseas.And about men tradtional clothes,most men here in government job still have to wear the (Thoab and shmaq)saudi men trational clothes,which can be seen by a western also as hard thing to wear everyday for work or the weather is too hot for it:)))

I hope you enjoy your stay here and try to look at the positive things more often.


Rawan on March 18, 2012:

First to start i'm a saudi girl and i know for a fact that way we live here in

saudi is pretty much way different to the way westerns live back in their country.

I agree with you on some points ,but i have to disagree on some other points.First its not very much acceptable to hit a women in saudi.I never seen any women that has been hit from their husbands nor their families.Its depends on how these families are brought up and their level of education.A man who actually hits a women is actually not a real man or have problems with his personality or a very weak man with other men.i can say what's bad about it if it happens the man will not have very severe punishments.but i can assure you its not very common for women to be hit.

a women can choose who she marries.When some man goes to the family for a girl he wants ,before the family go a head and accept him,the girl has a chance to sit with the guy in the family home .If she does not like the guy she can say no and most families here will listen to their daughter opinion.If she accepts they can get engaged first and then the couple can go freely out and meet when ever they want.This engagement period can let the couples get to know each other very well,and if they don't like each other they will not go forward with wedding and call it thing that is common that there will be no sex until they get married,but as i said before they are free to meet whenever they desire when engaged.

Saudi Arabia is pretty much a family oriented society,and also Saudis likes their privacy and that's why every place is men and women sections.The ones here that suffers maybe according to your definition of freedom would be single people.However i still like the system here and have been for a visit to most western countries.

I know you guys always complain when visiting saudi arabia because its different what you used too but i don't hear too many Saudis complaining about life here.I'm sure that there are still Saudis who don't like it but i can assure its a very small percentage.

One last thing,about the Abyaa or Hijab most i know it illegal to take it off here ,but i can assure you most girls here are comfortable with wearing it.You can money saudi girls still wearing this thing overseas.And about men tradtional clothes,most men here in government job still have to wear the (Thoab and shmaq)saudi men trational clothes,which can be seen by a western also as hard thing to wear everyday for work or the weather is too hot for it:)))

I hope you enjoy your stay here and try to look at the positive things more often.


person on March 14, 2012:

im a muslim and i think this should be stopped NOW . the people accusing these women are WRONG the people say thr muslims and do this are messed up and THEY need to be punished for this cruelty

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on March 04, 2012:

Hi Mali,I hope you enjoy your trip to Saudi, make sure that you follow their rules and regulations and don't be to vocal and criticize to heavily publicly or you may find yourself on the first plane back home or worse.

Mali on March 03, 2012:


I totally understand what your saying :). In Saudia Arabia Hypocrisy is on a large level as the government is involved. Things are ignored here too by the way but its more on a social/workplace level. My straight opinion of the world is that 1000's of years cannot change blood and with Saudi Men it is exactly this. 1400 years ago when Islam was established Saudia Arabia was in a very bad state because of the people and their ways. The prophet (PBUH) brought to us Islam and with that things did improve - However with the prophet gone - things started getting worse again. But just imagine if there was no Islam - Saudia Arabia would be a death trap lol! Guaranteed that without Islam 95% Saudi men would drink heavily, they'd b gambling and burying their baby girls/wives alive or selling them. Thanks LeanMan this is really helpful and it's made me think about people, society and laws. Its also helpful as I will be coming to Saudi next year for my university electives InshaaAllah (God Willing). My brother has already warned me but your insight is clearly much more realistic. Thank You

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on March 01, 2012:

Hi Rebecca, thanks for reading and commenting.

rebecca on March 01, 2012:

I really like your articles. When I was a teenager, there were lots of Saudis here going to college, and their behaviour was abominable, especially towards women. We were all glad when they stopped coming here.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on February 24, 2012:

Hi Mali, my main problem with Saudi Arabia is the hypocrisy, I know that crime happens everywhere in the world; but by at least being honest and open about it people can start to tackle it. The crimes in Saudi Arabia against women are denied so vehemently as if there is no way that these things could possibly happen and anyone who mentions them is vilified!

In Saudi Arabia women (especially expat women from poorer countries) are very badly treated; I hate to keep repeating myself but I have never met so many runaway domestic staff who have been abused and raped in my life by sponsors (employers) who seem to think that they have the right to treat them like slaves and "playthings".

Comparing problems from one country to the next does not excuse problems or make them OK. If I wrote about the problems in the UK I assure you I would be as passionate as you are about the problems, I don't live there anymore for a reason!!

I am not saying that Saudi Arabia is worse than any other country with regards to drugs, crime or Alcohol; what I am saying is that those people who highlight the country as some religious perfection in which these things could not and do not happen are very very wrong! However when it comes to the treatment of female expat workers in Saudi Arabia I would say that the problems are far in excess of any other country I have ever been to or met people from. I am basing my opinions on what I have been told by expat women who work in the country as domestic staff and other "lower status" jobs and from the women who have run away from these jobs - not on any scientific verifiable data, but that does not make this opinion any less valid than any other. Look at the polls on my pages about "how do Saudis treat expats", over 50% of those responding cite verbal and physical violence! While I understand that these sorts of polls are going to attract people with negative experiences or those with a grudge to participate more than those who have had a great time the figures are still horrendous!

As a man I loved it in Saudi Arabia, If I were a woman, especially from a poorer country I would think twice before going!

Mali on February 24, 2012:

I can understand where you're coming from and it is true that the government of saudia arabia ignores these problems but this is done in a similar way to that of other countries. In saudia arabia the fear is that women may take over and therefore men will no longer be in power. They do not want women rising to the top and asking for even more rights. This is a similar situation here were i live. The reason that drugs and alcohol are such a great problem is to bring money into the country. Although the government/police make out that they are trying to tackle this problem they are in fact not. Drugs are filtered out of good areas and diverted to poorer regions so that lower class society does not question those in power or ask for more rights. This is basic human nature - those who are at the top will do all they can to keep those at the bottom in their place. You say issues here are highlighted but believe me they are not. An officer who leads the drugs team was asked why medical morphine is not purchased from afghanistan in order to reduce the number sold to criminals and at the same time increase bussiness for poor farmers in afghanistan and help create more jobs. - he had no answer to this. Also at airports only 3 passengers per plane are checked for drugs and no more - hmm what about the other 10-20 that get away with smuggling drugs into the UK (only 10% of drugs are taken from drug dealers in the UK).

Same problem with alcohol - it is cheaper here in England than water. however in Scotland it costs a lot more. Government doesn't care as long as it makes money.

Also the number of women that report rapes here is also surprisingly low and those who were drunk won't usually win the case as 'it was their own fault' - same as what KSA says about it being a woman's fault if she goes out alone. Here in the UK if a robber was to break in to my house and I was to kill him - i'd be done for murder - where is the justice in that? I hate to say this but all countries are exactly the same - good and bad people exit in all nations, tribes and societies. KSA behave in an archaic way whereas the problems in the UK are more modernised.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on February 21, 2012:

Hi Mali, thanks for your detailed list of problems in the UK, I certainly have never said that the UK is perfect, but I was born there and lived most of my life there so have seen most of what you mention first hand. Some people in the UK live in nice areas and would not believe that what you mention happens on a regular (daily) basis, it is a sad state of affairs.

But these things are recorded, they are not hidden, offenders are arrested if caught, yes some areas and crimes are not reported, but if so many happen and do not affect some "nice" person then they are not "news" for many of the tabloids!

I no longer live in the UK as I am tired of how things are turning out and do not feel safe there. I have spent 4 years in Saudi Arabia and feel much safer on the streets than I ever did in the UK.

That being said there are many things that go in Saudi Arabia that worry me and are basically ignored by the government and denied by the locals as things that could never happen. The treatment of Women in Saudi Arabia is one of those areas, I have met so many women who have been assaulted and raped and can do nothing about it as they are the ones who would be in trouble if they reported it! At least in England they could report it and get medical and psychological help if they needed it, yes sometimes they would still get no justice due to lack of evidence but at least they would not be imprisoned, be given lashes, deported as prostitutes, or worse!

You say to move out of my area, I live in a relatively expensive, "high class" area yet my wife's friend was grabbed by two men who tried to drag her into their car and she only lives in the building next door; thankfully she managed to escape, the police however were uninterested as she was not Saudi despite the extensive bruises she received! Other ladies that I have known there have been kidnapped and kept for days to be beaten and raped, one broke both her legs jumping from a window to escape but the police never went to where she escaped from! Some were taken by police as they had no papers - they had to pay for their freedom through forced sex! Women have no rights, especially non-Saudi women who are abused daily and can do nothing.

But I guess as long as it is worse somewhere else I should just shut up and not mention it as some people seem to think.

Mali on February 21, 2012:

LOL you could write an article with bad points about every country - its just that the bad points are different in different countries.

In the area that I live in the UK there is a huge number of teenage pregnancies in girls aged 12-16 - its crazy. these girls are clearly not free if they feel they have to give themselves up at such a young age. Most are left without partners, in fact many don't even know who the father of their child is. In this region there is also a huge number of domestic violence and robberies. there was a minor robbery on our street today and a huge one yesterday - involving guns. Then there is the gypsy lifestyle - which is something i have only recently found out about. This is saddening and for gypsy women life is not much different from what you described above. Including pressure from authorities and higher class society constantly throwing gypsies off camp sites. This means women with about 6 kids each end up on the streets.

In addition to all of this I worked with the cops for a university project and was shown CCTV video footage of life on the streets and I was soooo horrified - i actually couldn't sleep thinking about a few videos where drunk men were kickin in each others heads and also and unconscious woman. There was also one of a man biting out chunks of flesh from his girl friends face. This was day one of my project - the weeks to follow were much worse. These crimes are not highlighted by the government at all and before this I was fortunate enough to have come home when it gets dark outside - otherwise I may have seen something like this in real life. I fail to understand how alcohol and drugs are a bigger problem in KSA - it's illegal there and so the people you hang out with are law breakers and therefore you're clearly gonna see some crimes. So in other words you need to make new friends - your hanging out with the bad crowd. That's like me going and hanging out with the drug dealers in my area for a week or so (plenty to pick from) and then writing about it - My article would then make yours look boring.

Also alcohol is so big here in the UK that medical problems here are mainly from alcohol abuse, smoking or obesity. Drugs are also a huge problems - the drug users are so bad here that in the hospitals A+E department a patient who has just been cannulated needs to be watched - often they run away so that they can use the cannula to take drugs for the next 2-3 days. The rest of the people coming into hospitals are ungrateful people who want a sex-change or those who are unhappy with certain body parts. Pretty much everyone here complains about the way they look, am actually getting sick of it now.

no one hears about the problems in the UK and USA because those that make it public are quickly dealt with by the government - unfortunately the government of saudia arabia is quite dim-witted and therefore unable to cover up their problems and quickly and silently resolve/pay off their victims (AKA compensations).

Everyone knows Saudi has problems but the truth is so do all other countries. You only see the problems once you live in the problem area, through careful research or you start talking to people who are willing to talk to you. I've lived here all my life but have only seen these problems recently because of travelling around and through higher education. I can't wait to move out of this area. You should also try moving from the horrible area you live in so you find a better part of saudia arabia. Also in regards to women not being allowed to drive - that's a stupid rule. But then in the UK pedophiles get a shorter prison sentence than people who refuse to pay tax. - that's also a stupid rule.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on February 09, 2012:

Many women take the risk of having an unrelated driver and using taxis even though they are strictly illegal. Most of the time a blind eye is turned to this practice.

The other option is to be in the company of another woman who is with their husband or relatives or just a large group as the woman would not then be able to "be alone" with a male as this is the big no-no.

debwalker from New England USA on February 09, 2012:

what I don't understand is how a woman whose husband stayed in the US (but she went to KSA for work) can be anything other than house- or compound-bound. If she can't go anywhere without a male relative and all her male relatives are in the US, and if she can't have a driver that is unrelated b/c it is illegal/immoral, then how exactly does she even get to the airport or anywhere off compound/out of house?

Haruna Sule on February 06, 2012:

Hello I am Haruna Sule from Sabongery Kano state Nigeria man i love a Saudi women any women from Saudi who want a marriage shuld cntact me i am waiting for my love from Saudi. age is from 30 to 70 is marriage that last long. thanks i love you.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 19, 2012:

Hi Muslim, I have a very nice life thank you. It is a pity that there are so many children that do not know their Saudi mothers as the fathers retain the children after splitting with their wives!

If you think there are no drugs or alcohol in KSA then you are sorely misled! I see more of a problem there than I do in the west! Most of the people I worked with smoked drugs and drank!

Why is it that you feel it necessary to attack the messenger rather than deal with the problems in your own country. In the west the problems are readily accepted and people try to do something about them! In Saudi Arabia you just hide the problems, which is the same as saying they are ok!

Yes there are good and bad just the same as there is in any other country, but every time someone says there is a problem in Saudi Arabia everyone denies it! You all bury your heads and allow the problems to continue rather than dealing with your issues.

Muslim on January 19, 2012:

get a life looser

We are proud of the culture its what you call decent way of life at least a child who his parents are they are aware of there father unlike western countries where the teenage pregnancy, drugs, alcohol has corrupted them.

If you have so much negative to say, WHY ARE YOU still living here go back to your home country.

Do your research before you start corrupting people mind with your bull crap. Every where you find good and bad you cant judge the rest of them by few bad ones.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 16, 2012:

Hi Mary, I don't much care for living in the US or the UK which I originate from. I find the crime and the attitude of the youth terrible! I prefer the attitude of the Saudi youth that I have interacted with, they are on the whole polite, respectful and very inquisitive and eager to learn. I also like being able to walk the streets without fear of being attacked or mugged!

I am sorry if you think that I am biased, I really am only writing as I see it, I think I have mixed with a very different crowd to you and my wife is not western; therefore I have had ample opportunity to mix with women who have been very much on the receiving end of the worst of the behavior within Saudi.

My point is not so much that it happens, it is that women have no way to complain without themselves ending up being the ones in trouble; everyone makes mistakes and puts themselves in situations that they should never be in, but there in Saudi the men know that the women cannot complain and take full advantage of it! (I like using a !!)

How do suggest I change my approach to make more article more positive as you suggest? I have not reported anything that is untrue or exaggerated anything, what would you like me to add?

Mary on January 15, 2012:

You received comments from my two daughters as well as me, that's why they are all from the same IP address. As you can see one of my daughters is very outspoken. By the way, she won't be posting any further comments since she is being punished for the one she wrote. I agree that there are a multitude of problems here in KSA that need to be addressed but I don't think your articles are addressing them in a positive way. I also dislike hypocrites and people who drink, take drugs and drive like maniacs; of all religions. But again, I don't think hypocrisy is limited to just Saudis. My 18 year old niece was killed by a drunk driver in the U.S. in 2008. By the way, I never said that things are worse in the U.S. than here in KSA. I said that the same problems exist every where, just in different amounts. Seems like you really didn't care for my "reasonably coherent", as you put it, comments since you ended each paragraph with an exclamation point! But, I was doing the same thing you have been doing, giving my opinion as a Westerner living in KSA. Since you are such a champion of human rights but feel that it is not in your power to help the people of Saudi Arabia become more enlightened and less savage-like, and I agree that some of them need help, maybe you could go back to the U.S. and help the people there who have similar problems.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 14, 2012:

Hi Mary, I should inform you that your IP address is recorded when you comment therefore I can easily tell when you post multiple comments using different names and the "f$%# you, you piece of s%^$!" type comments you also leave are quite enlightening as to your true attitude! Glad to see however that you have managed to finally put together a reasonably coherent comment this time that I can actually allow to be published without offending people!

I have no problem with the Islamic religion nor with Muslims in general, some of my best friends are Muslim.

What I do have a problem with are hypocrites who claim to be Muslim and act differently abusing others, getting drunk, taking drugs, driving like maniacs and putting others at risk. Then the huge number of hypocrites that although they do not do these things themselves bury their heads in the sand to deny the existence of the others thereby condoning their actions!

I am not going to repeat again about the behavior of people in Saudi or the huge queues to escape every weekend to go drinking and chase prostitutes, I have said it enough!

Yes there are women in Saudi Arabia who are happy with having to dress the way they do, with not being able to drive and other restrictions and there are many others who are not happy but cannot do anything about it!

I would love to be able to do something about it but unfortunately it is not in my power, it is down to the good citizens of Saudi Arabia to stop turning a blind eye to the poor behavior of many within their society and to start doing something about it rather than denying its existence! Walking by when wrong is being done is not the Muslim way, being silent when wrong is done is not the Muslim way but that is what happens! Failure to act condones the poor behavior and allows it to propagate! Saying that problems are worse elsewhere is also a cop out and an excuse for inaction!

Yes things are bad in the west, but at least they are reported, at least women can report them without fear of themselves being punished unlike in Saudi! Saying things are worse in the west however in my opinion is incorrect from what I have seen with my own eyes and heard from victims with regards to crimes against women!

sana on January 14, 2012:

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Mary on January 14, 2012:

I am a middle aged American woman who has been living in KSA for the past 11 yrs. I can honestly say that I found your article very biased and racist. Seems to me that you are profiting from the current anti-Islam/anti-Muslim hype. I was a bit nervous about moving here but found that the majority of the people here are just like everyone else, they are worried about making a living and raising their children. I don't live in one of the "Western" style compounds either and through work, classes and my children's friends I have met Saudis from all different levels of society. Of course there are women in KSA who are unhappy with their lives due to abuse, philandering husband, not being able to drive,etc. But, aren't there women in every country in the world who are unhappy with their lives for one reason or another? I lived the majority of my life in the U.S. and know that there are women being abused, cheated on and raped there, too. Saudi Arabian men aren't the only men in the world with undesirable behaviors. You mentioned many times about Saudi women being "forced" to wear Islamic clothing and I just want to mention that I have many female Muslim friends of all nationalities and they wear Islamic clothing because it is a religious requirement not because their husbands or fathers force them to wear it. I noticed in your article that you usually throw in a couple of good comments after a long string of negative remarks. Seems like a weak attempt on your part at being fair and unbiased. I agree that there are a lot of abusive cheating men here, as well as a lot of women who would like some changes made to make their lives easier. But, you can't generalize as you have and make all Saudi men sound like, as you wrote, a bunch of "sex mad pigs" and the women like meek, timid wimps, on the contrary most Saudi women are strong and aggressive. It's amazing to me that so many people who read your article just accepted everything you said as the "gospel truth". I guess that it is unfortunately true that most people believe whatever they see on tv or read. I am interested to know if you plan on doing anything to help all of the Saudi women improve their situations or if you just like to write exaggerated racist articles?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 13, 2012:

Hi Bethany, I am sure that many Saudi women are happily married, I know several that are, but they still complain about not being able to drive, they want the freedom to wear what they like and go and work where ever they want, things that currently they cannot do. I also know Saudi women who have been abused by husbands who can not complain or do anything, they have no money or family to rely on to give them an escape so they are trapped with their husbands, especially if they want to keep their children.

Some of these "loving" husbands are also not what they seem, I have attended many parties with Saudi men where they invite many Filipinos, Indonesians and even single Saudi women - they drink, they take drugs and if they can't convince a girl to spend the night with them they force themselves on them! I have witnessed this myself with my own eyes many times, I often leave these parties early with a car load of women that want to escape! I am always invited due to the fact that I make a mean bottle of wine and have some good beer!! My wife used to invite her friends along but no longer if Saudis will attend because of the Saudis behavior towards them!

As to other nationalities other than Saudis I know that many women who work for cleaning companies servicing places like the hospitals are literally locked into villas under guard, not allowed out, bussed to work and returned on the same bus direct to the villa. They never leave their home and often share 5 or 6 to a room. I also know so many escaped maids who have been raped and abused, not paid salaries for months or years and so on!

As an American you live a rather privileged existence on a nice western compound and mix with the better members of society. I preferred to live off compound and mix with everyone, Indians, Filipinos, Indonesians and many other nationalities including the Saudis. I have met women of all nationalities, most of whom have stories of rape and abuse at the hands of Saudi men. Go to my articles on how are expats treated by Saudis and you will see that the majority of respondents have been both verbally and physically abused! As I have said a number of times, the treatment you will receive is very much related to the "class" of Saudi that you mix with, if you mix with higher class Saudis then you will generally be treated with dignity and respect!

The Saudis can bury their heads in the sand and deny their problems but that is as good as saying it is OK! Better to highlight them and deal with them!!

I am glad that you are enjoying your time there in Saudi but please open your eyes to the beggars on the streets which include many Saudi women!!

Pamela, you seem to have similar views to Bethany about women in Saudi Arabia but feel the need to be overly abusive rather than open to a debate - if you would like to debate then feel free to leave another comment without the excessive language and personal attacks!!

Saudi Arabia is like any other society, you have your good people and you bad people - but in Saudi people generally deny the existence of anything bad and this gives those that abuse others the freedom to continue to do so without fear of punishment!

Bethany on January 13, 2012:

I have been living in Saudi Arabia for the past 10 years and i am an American. Almost everything that was said was not true. I know so many saudi women who are happily married and are treated with respect and love . All those rumors about men beating women and women having no freedom is false. Its true we don't have as much freedom as anyone living abroad does but , that's because of small matters like not being able to drive and small matters like that but nothing as big as women getting beaten everywhere.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 07, 2012:

Hi Emy,

thank you for reading about saudi women, i hope you enjoy your time in the US.

As to having a driver, that is all very well and good but not everyone wants a driver or can afford the expense of hiring one. Plus you run the risk of being arrested if your driver is not your direct blood relative - it happens!

As to rape, yes it happens everywhere, every country - but I think I knew one woman in the UK who had been raped in my whole life, in Saudi Arabia in the space of 4 years I met maybe fifty women who had run away from their employers as they had been raped and sexually abused or attacked in the street or foolishly went to a party and so on. None of whom could complain as they would be the ones that would be in trouble!

That being said most Saudi women I have met are better educated and more motivated than the men, I am very impressed by those that I have met and spoken and worked with.

But you are right, "the opinion of a small number of women does not mean the opinion of all", many of your country women are not as happy as you are!

emy on January 07, 2012:

I read your article .

Actually women in Saudi Arabia do not drive the car but have a private driver.

When ask any woman in all world "do you want to have private driver or you drive by yourself ?

what do you think?

when you wrote that the man hits the woman, I wanna say I am living in US to studying when I go back to Saudi arabia I will say I hear some men rape women and buried their in their yard , What do you say?

"this story really happened in cleveland, you can search"

The second thing

You can search about" What the King gave for women "

the number of women who have Scholarship is more than men in saudi arabi

the king gave each women , who does not have job , salary

The opinion of a very small number of women does not mean the opinion of all ,

In a country with a population of 27,136,977 and the number of women more than half.

I wish you read about women in saudi arabi of good source .


Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 02, 2012:

Hi Jarratt, women in Saudi Arabia have a really tough deal but many just don't realize just what they are missing out on as they have so little contact beyond their own family.

Jarratt on January 02, 2012:

Hello LeanMan

WOW! This discussion board and page is amazing. Is good to see how things really are for women in KSA. Is sad and actually shocks me even though i have heard stories about this topic.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on January 01, 2012:

Hi Saudi Girl, thank you for reading, I guess that some Saudi women are happy with how they are treated; however many are not!

Saudi-Girl on January 01, 2012:

I could've believe that if i wasn't born and raised in Saudi Arabia. Excuse me, but this doesn't have to be real ,if it is based on your bias observation.

u know what I won't bother my self to correct your ideas, I don't even care!

u guys keep the media wash your brains!!

anyways I'm proud to be first Muslim, and then Saudi!!!!!!!!

and if u don't like it here just go back to your country. where u can stare at your naked women and play with them. if u cant do this here

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on December 19, 2011:


If you are suggesting that women become prostitutes in Saudi Arabia then you are an example of the sort of Muslim man that is very far from your religion!

shahin islam khan on December 19, 2011:

if you muslim women dont driving and jobs if your husbent or if your never ever husbent brothers uncle then you proced only marketing and business with must be hizab many ahud is open muslim women sas as a prostut women make prostitut women contuct me i discribe its details why become of prostitut muslim women rulse

shahin islam khan

ryan on November 20, 2011:

Hi ciara im ryan her work saudi. in my situation gud for own country. if u like to meet ciara im her jedda give ur number u

Hitpages on November 13, 2011:

good hub :d

Kamal on November 10, 2011:

Hello all,any muslim woman who need marriage contact me through my email,

ali amour on October 25, 2011:

I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about islam as a whole, about its people and especially its treatment towards women. there is a lot of authentic sources online that you people might be surprised to know that islam as way of life is rapidly spreading to every corner of the globe. visit this site and you can find lots of talks and books http//

and aslo visit

ciara on October 19, 2011:

dear saudi girl, i am an irish woman who has just returned from a brief stay in saudi arabia. if you need any advice re ireland, please feel free to email me ( also, i'd love to ask you some questions about living in saudi!

salmaan ayub on October 04, 2011:

nice hub!! actually i my have spent all my life here in KSa and still living here.. After spending 2 yrs in UK i realized what i was missing " Freedom, Equality and Respect". Now i am planing to escape from here asap.

robin on September 25, 2011:

I think its because of there god allah or mohammed for I blame him for it

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 22, 2011:

Saudi Girl I am sure that you will have a great time in Ireland as long as you are not going to be wearing your Abaya and you try to mix with the locals. The Irish are known for their hospitality.

urshafiq on September 06, 2011:

ahlain any true female contact me my mail true saudi female want a merry contact me smart and good attractive man here ( )

saudi girl on September 03, 2011:

i am saudi woman living in saudi arabia and i agree with all what you said . i lived my whole life here but i can't seem to adapt with this life . i am going to Ireland for the first time and i am going to stay there for few years . do you think my life is going to get a bit better over there or is it going to be the same since i'm saudi ?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 30, 2011:

Anastasia, thank you for your comments. In Saudi Arabia women have few rights and I know of other women with similar stories to yours and also those who have been separated from their children by Saudi husbands.

Anastasia on August 25, 2011:

LeanMan, thank you for the great information! I know a Bulgarian who met her Saudi husband in Bulgaria and went to live with him in Saudi Arabia. Soon they had 2 boys but he was abusing her on a regular basis and simply refuse when she wanted to leave him and return to her country. She somehow managed to escape 10 years later and took her kids miraculosly after few more years. She was worning eberybody how Saudi man can be very polite at first but when they 'own' their wife, they can change dramatically!

In my opinion, the worst part of her story was that her father and brother in law were forcing her to have sex with them...all this with the permission of her huhusband. I can only imagine what a nightmare it must have been. Currently she's in her late 50s and she looks like she's at least 70 years old!

Ruby on July 21, 2011:

I am a Palestinian girl ( Muslim ) I lived in Saudi Arabia only for about 9 months and found living there horrible. Believe me, what Saudi people do for women has NOTHING to do with Islam, with my respect to Saudi people I don't know how they really live. I cried many times over watching how they wear and how religious police treat people . Saudi Arabia has nothing to do with Islam, it is just like the church in Dark Ages.

Janna Jones on November 09, 2010:

Very interesting hub. I have a lot of friends in the Philippines and help support a couple of families with our china electronic imports (buy from china, sell online in Phil. and collect here in USA).

Anyway, on my visits I have talked to many of the families we helps young Filipina girls and their friends that have worked in cyber sex. The one think they all know is what they call "Turkey Man" or "Mr.FreeShow" They say that the new cyber girls learn soon to monitor the IP addresses of the customers and not respond or bann from their site those IP addresses that come from all Arab Countries. Most cyber studios have a list of IPs from that area.

They said that the men are Rude, Crude, Demand Free, Make Threats etc trying to scare the girls in showing without the man paying.

Its bad enough for the Filipina girls to be in the business, much less put up with Muslim Animal Hypocrites.

Good Hub!

You have inspired me to contact some of my Filipno friends, and write some of the stories I have been told about Muslim men on cyber sex sites...Thanks!

shadiya on October 13, 2010:

i just came back from jeddah, saudi. there a university called effat university roling by women. it was a good sign to show that, culture make women in saudi trapped in misunderstood about Islam.

Islam gaves their follower rights and freedom, but in the right way to having freedom, eg lifestyle- in Islam you can eat anything, except what is stated from Allah that you're banned to ate that (pork/animal that have claw like tiger, cat, dog, ass (donkey)- Everything in Islam that u allow to do or not do have a reason.

Most of the reason actually been admitted by scientificly. Eg: why muslim women must wearing their hijab? why they cannot choose attire with what they like? Wearing hijab for muslim women give freedom to them, identity, freedom from bad eye, freedom from sexual harrasment, freedom to men.

jtrader on October 13, 2010:

If their job required talking to single men would they have to have someone else present while they do that?

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 29, 2010:

Thank you for reading and commenting Wavegirl, the culture here does not favor women at all, it will be interesting to watch and see how things change over the coming years.

Shari from New York, NY on September 29, 2010:

Saudi women really have it hard. We women in the democratic world have much to teach these women. I had trouble reading about the Saudi men beating their wifes. . Good think Wilma has you over there.

I would like to read more about this.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 29, 2010:

Thank you for reading and commenting smart rookie, Saudi Arabian Muslim Women certainly do not have the same freedoms that women in the west enjoy.

Smart Rookie on September 29, 2010:

Voted up and useful - very informative hub on the realities of life for women in Saudi Arabia.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 28, 2010:

Hi Jojee, glad that you enjoy your life here in Saudi Arabia. It is a real joy to hear from a woman who is happy with her life not being allowed to drive, unable to choose who she can mix with, not free to marry who she wishes, has to cover her body from head to foot, and with no recourse in law against an abusive husband. Maybe you are happy with the restrictions, but many are not. There is nothing exaggerated or untrue about what I report above.

One video is about Iran and I say so in the text if you read. As to Khobar and Dammam being ALMOST like modern cities I would agree, they are the most liberated of the cities here in Saudi Arabia. But the same laws apply there as in the rest of Saudi Arabia.

It is because people would rather complain about the people who point out what is wrong that nothing ever gets done about the problems, attack the messenger not deal with the message! Even if what was above applied to one person it would be one person too many, but it applies to every woman in Saudi Arabia.

Jojee on September 28, 2010:


I think you are talking about IRAN, not about Saudi Arabia. you may see that all videos are Iranian and actually i am living Saudi Arabia as a expat never seen or feel like your article. Try to come here specially Khobar or Dammam so you will never think that, women are in hell because its almost like a modern cities.


Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 20, 2010:

Thank you for commenting Lisabeaman, there are many positive things about the way of life here as well as the negative. I do not see or hear of the same levels of crime here in Saudi Arabia against women or men that I hear about in the west. I feel much safer walking the streets here. But in the west, certainly as a woman you have much more freedom than you have here.

lisabeaman from Phoenix, AZ on September 20, 2010:

Great Hub LeanMan! It sure makes me appreciate living in America... I have a lot to be thankful for!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on September 02, 2010:

Fuzzy, I think if I were a woman here in Saudi Arabia I would find it very difficult to justify living here. However as a man it is not too bad, you can still do whatever you want but generally in the privacy of your own home.

I do hold my wife's hand while we walk, but that is about as far as I would dare go!

FuzzyCookie on September 02, 2010:

wow :O

thanks for d explanation. I was wondering, even after all these 'rules', do you still like living here? I mean how come one aint allowed to hold your own wife's hand? I would never want to stay in a place like that :O

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 30, 2010:

Hi Fuzzy, Thanks for returning, Dubai is part of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) which is to the north of Saudi Arabia. Most of the UAE is much more tolerant than Saudi Arabia, although you can still have problems there. Saudi Arabia is a huge country, mainly desert, the main cities that I speak of here are Riyadh (the capital), Dammam and Al-Khobar which are close together on the north coast near to Bahrain, and Jeddah on the Red Sea coast in the south.

The Mutawa are like religious police, they enforce the rules of the Islamic (Saudi) church on the streets. They often wander in small groups looking for people (especially women) to harass for minor infringements of the "law", such as not covering their hair or men and women together. They have the power to take people off to prison as well as being a total pain in the nether regions. I was followed around by one a few days ago because he noticed my wife had not covered her hair, he shouted at her to start with before he saw me, he then followed us around the souk with his "followers" and demanded to see identification to prove that we were married! This is the first time that I have ever been asked, but I know many other nationalities fall foul of these Mutawa regularly, women have repeatedly told me of being struck and having their hair pulled violently for failing to cover their hair. Couples that I know from the Philippines and other countries also being stopped to have their papers checked.

FuzzyCookie on August 29, 2010:

Yeah, it seems to be really hard for women to live in Saudi Arabia. I've heard from a friend that some women even drive bikes there at night.. :O idk .. a very common dialogue that these people use is that a woman is like a diamond and as a diamond is not exposed to everyone you meet and see, a woman should be kept under covers..ah well it all depends on yor religious views..

Oh, I wanted to know what "Mutawa" meant and when you say Saudi, is it Dubai that is being spoken of or is it some other city .. thanks!

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 29, 2010:

Thanks for your comments Fuzzy, I would never be able to stay here if I were a woman, I really don't know how my wife can adapt to life in Saudi Arabia but she does.

FuzzyCookie on August 29, 2010:

A really well written hub. I had to read from the start to the end. It kind of amazed and bedazzled me. And I thought I lived in an old fashioned country but now I am happy to be living where I live atleast I dont have to be accompanied with a man everywhere I go and that I can drive alone, I am not forced to put a cloak around me.. rated up! :D

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 27, 2010:

So many people here now flaunting the law, many of the younger Saudi women with uncovered hair and faces, especially in Jeddah..

Charles Fox from United Kingdom on August 27, 2010:

Bit different in the UK. We have to have a debate and it is big news if even a suggestion that facial coverings be against the law. Live and let live I say. As long as living is not just being allowed, but is allowed to flourish to its full potential without constriction.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 23, 2010:

Thanks for your comments also Dobson, I am sure that things will change quite dramatically over the next ten years or so here in Saudi Arabia.

The population is expanding with a huge percentage of young people that want to see change, this will not be ignored for ever!

Even in the short time I have been here things have changed significantly, when I first arrived supermarkets were "evacuated" by the Mutawa at prayer time, this no longer happens. I rarely hear anyone telling my wife to cover her hair and I see more and more Saudi women with uncovered hair and faces (Some have truly beautiful features!)

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 23, 2010:

Thanks for your comments Pam, most of the women here know no different and are raised to accept this behaviour. Not all Saudis travel or have access to "western" TV, even what they do have access to is heavily censored. I would not be surprised if this page is blocked within a few days here as many pages and videos that I tried to access when writing this were unavailable to me.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on August 23, 2010:

Wow! The men sound horrid how horrible for a woman to live under those circumstances. With her self esteem literally beaten out of her why would she care about exercise, diet or looking good?

Possibly when a woman does manage to get an education and job she is so grateful that she really strives to do exceptional work. Marrying 9 or 10 year old girls should be a crime.

Dobson from Virginia on August 23, 2010:

LM - Our knowledge of Saudi Arabia continues to grow thanks to youe fine coverage of the issues that are daily items in your life. Thanks for giving us the low down on the way women are treated. You are correct that this would never be allowed in the United States or any other civilized country. One wonders how long this inequity will continue.

Tony (author) from At the Gemba on August 22, 2010:

Thank you for your very well considered comments sunforged. I have many Saudis as friends here as I actually do not live on compound like most westerners. I am a typical woman chasing western male, however the attitude of the average Saudi man here makes me quite sick, I would not be able to face myself if I ever treated women as they do... But in other ways these guys can be so pleasant!

sunforged from on August 22, 2010:

I was always curious about this topic but rarely have seen any well-written intelligent takes on this theme, until now.

I live in a very multi-cultural community and have many friends from the Middle East, regardless of how polite, intelligent or otherwise well mannered and often time devout they are,an obvious view of women as second-class citizens exists as a common thread between them. This disparity in their otherwise outstanding characters has always made me very curious.

Being raised in an environment such as you describe would make it very difficult to turn out any other way.

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