Life has its own way of living itself whether we enjoy it or not. It is part of what we signed up for and this includes being a woman in Saudi Arabia. Nothing can really prepare you for living here; not reading about it, not even living here all your life can make you an expert in how to deal with life in Saudi as a woman, especially a local woman.
You are not allowed to drive. You can’t travel or even apply to a job or college without your male guardian’s approval, but this is not all. You are always judged and whatever you do is strictly monitored by society. The quality of your own living is decided and dependent on your own family’s boundaries –you’ll be among the lucky elite if you happen to be born into an open-minded family. We are still supervised by the tribal culture and values regardless of how big or advanced we are becoming as a country and a nation.
But things are changing rapidly and we have witnessed it especially in the last decade; we are living in the information era. People are able to gain more information easily and adapt changes very easily. One of the most rapid changes we are witnessing is the ability for women here to gain more rights and have more access to things we haven’t dreamt of 20 or 30 years ago and we are overcoming all obstacles and challenges.
We are amazing because of what we can offer to ourselves, our society, and to the world. We are intelligent, strong, self-sufficient, and independent. We can do what we want when we want compared to what was a burden before. We are more secure and self-motivated and this made us happier.
The government is being a strong supporter in empowering us. Laws are being put in place to allow women to have more freedom at work. Numbers are saying that Saudi women constitute more than 17% of the native workforce. The number of working women increased 280% in the last decade. Mixed gender work places are becoming more acceptable.
In 3 decades female literacy in Saudi jumped from 2% to 82% – with more than 50% with higher education degrees and the number of Saudi women graduating from colleges with high education degrees is higher than many western countries.
We have a female minister, female parliament advisors, female lawyers, and female athletes competing in the Olympics, hundreds of thousands of Saudi women studying or working abroad. Things we never imagined about a decade ago.
I do believe that sometimes we still feel down, we still demand more but let’s admit and accept that there is a moderate progress happening by the government and we shall support it rather than criticizing it. The change is happening and we strong Saudi women are leading it.
For a nation that is relatively considered young struggling between the tribal and conservative parties, the political issues, and the youth along with the government’s urge to develop the human in order to develop the country and be a first world classified country, changes happening here are structured to benefit us while not harming or causing conflicts with any party even if others see it as very slow steps we can rest assured that they are sustainable steps.
Always believe that the best is yet to come and we will get there soon.