Saudis alarmed over number of unmarried women (Photo: lobelog)
Saudis alarmed over number of unmarried women (Photo: lobelog)

Riyadh, 28 Rabi’ul Awwal 1436/19 January 2015 (MINA) – Saudis have called for radical solutions to help address the growing phenomenon of unmarried women in the country.

The latest alarm was sounded this week by Mohammad Al Abdul Qadir, the head of Wiam Family Care Society, who said that around 1.5 million Saudi women above 30 were not married.

The figure represents 33.4 per cent of the number of women in the kingdom, he said, local daily Makkah reported, Gulfnews quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

“We need to work on a new vision for Saudi families for the next ten years,” he said. “We need solutions that are based on the consolidation of the values of family solidarity and cohesion in order to confront several phenomena, particularly spinsterhood,” he said.

Some Saudi female activists said that the figure of unmarried women in the kingdom was around two million.

“This is a huge and scary figure that indicates an ominous social catastrophe could happen if no radical solutions are found for this phenomenon,” the activists said.

However, several Saudi women have refused to categorise spinsterhood as a dangerous phenomenon, explaining that many women preferred to remain unmarried by choice.

“There are those who have refused to get married for one reason or the other and there are those who have opted to succeed in their lives over getting into marriage,” they said.

According to the daily, many of the men who did not get married said that they did not have a steady source of income to allow them to start a family.

Social experts said the issue and causes of spinsterhood differed from one country to the other.

“In Saudi Arabia, the main problem is that some families ask for high dowries,” they said. “There is also the problem of the onerous costs of the marriage ceremonies. Such problems often push young men to seek to take foreign wives,” they said.

Even though Saudi and other Gulf men overwhelmingly prefer to marry their countrywomen, thousands of them take foreign wives.

The inability to pay large sums of money for dowry, exorbitant marriage ceremonies and high living costs have often been cited as the major reasons for Gulf men to marry non-Gulf women.

The phenomenon has pushed the Gulf countries to look for ways to address it.

One option was to encourage the concept of mass marriages in a bid to help needy grooms and brides with the high costs of ceremonies.

In 2010, Kuwait set up a committee to limit marriages between Kuwaiti men and foreign women.

In 2007, a Bahraini lawmaker caused a storm by urging his male peers to take four wives, three Bahraini women and one foreigner, in order to help address the issue of the high number of spinsters in the country.

Jasem Al Saidi, an independent who served in the lower house from 2002 until 2014, said that Bahraini men should not hesitate to wed more than one wife for the sake of the nation.

“We do not want to have spinsters in the country and we do not want a rise in the divorce rate, either,” he said. “Taking more than one wife is the solution, and I advise that the members of the Council of Representatives should set the example.”

His suggestion was promptly turned down by the other MPs.(T/P009/R03)


Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)