Worrying signs: 4m women have passed age of marriage - Saudi Gazette

Worrying signs: 4m women have passed age of marriage

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Saudi Gazette report

MAKKAH — The number of Saudi women who have passed the age of marriage has hit to four million in 2015. Today, statistical reports have shown that the number is on the increase ever since. This is one of the most alarming issues which make many families worried sick, as they ponder about the future of their young daughters, Al-Riyadh daily reported.

Dr. Ahmed Albo Ali, a mosque imam in Al-Ahsa City, said the number of Saudi women beyond the usual age of marriage was 1.5 million in 2005 and jumped to four million in 2015. This means that two thirds of Saudi girls above 30 years old have not gotten married over the past ten years.

Islam grants full rights to widows and divorced women; they can marry again if they want to. Unfortunately, many men prefer to marry women who have not been married before. As a result, the number of widows and divorced women, who have not gotten a chance to remarry, has risen and is rising.

“There is nothing wrong with a widow or a divorced woman. Many of them have better awareness levels about the meaning of marriage than young women who have not been married before. Many divorced women have gotten married again and lead now a happy marital life with their husbands,” he said.

Muhammad Al-Saleem, director of Al Oyun City Family Development Center, said divorced women in Arab societies are viewed differently; there is a social stigma attached to divorced women. Most people blame divorced women for their unsuccessful marriage and tend to make harsh judgments about those women.

“It is wrong to make a hasty judgment about a divorced woman and blame her for the failed marriage. She might be innocent and a victim of oppression at the hands of a cruel husband or she might have not been able to take it any longer because of her husband’s drug addiction. We need to change the way we look at divorced women and give them the respect they need and deserve,” he said.

Responsibility

Hussain Al-Obaidan, social development expert, blames the high number of divorced women on the spread of social media websites. Many husbands and wives today spend more time on social media sites than with one another.

As a result, they grow emotionally detached. Moreover, a large number of husbands spend most of their time with their friends and rarely stay at home with their partners. A wife ends up bearing a lot of pressure as she has to play the role of a wife, a mother, and a caretaker. Due to this high pressure, she crumbles and files for divorce because she cannot take it anymore.

Ahmed Al-Otafi, a social activist, said many Arab countries suffer from the high rate of women who have passed the age of marriage and most of them are women who refused to get married young in order to pursue postgraduate studies. Some women have missed the train of marriage because their guardians refused to marry them as those women were the sole breadwinners of the family.


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