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14. Oktober 2009

saudi arabische frau ©Edit Schlaffer/FoG

New Rights, and Challenges, for Saudi Women

A Report from Riyadh (Time Magazine)

Please click here to read the article on time online.

Edit Schlaffer, founder of Women without Borders conducted a unique research study in Saudi Arabia. The 2year study was funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and surveyed young female and male students across the country. "Bridging the Gap - Women´s Empowerment in the Middle East" examined the dreams, aspirations, setbacks of the young generation.

The overall results show an impressive common denominator: the female and male voices in the study are cosmopolitan, confident and hugely optimistic about gender equity. They are ambitious and look forward to an interesting work life and raising smaller families. Family is paramount, religion is treasured and tradition is respected though not perpetuated by all.
Yet further analysis reveals potential dark clouds. Women have much fewer job preparedness skills than their male colleagues, making their struggle both ideologically and pragmatically harder than for men to achieve employment. Women’s access to the job market is a thorny issue, but still one of the biggest and most pressing challenges confronting Saudi Arabia’s segregated society. 78% of the female Saudi students consider a successful career as part of their life plan – in the context of a society operating on rigid perceptions and allocation of roles – this is a small revolution. The high unemployment is, however, a serious problem and inauspicious, not only regarding the participation of women, it is a risk factor in respect to the country’s inner stability.
Only 54% of the Saudi respondents expect to find a job after graduation.

If you want to read more about the research which was also conducted in Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, please click here.


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