Most young Saudis want to marry working women who can help support the family in light of the increasing cost of living.
A number of young men surveyed in Makkah, Jeddah, Madinah, Taif, Al-Qassim, Najran and the Eastern Province said their limited income discourages them from marrying women who do not have jobs, Makkah daily reported.
Once considered a taboo, a growing number of Saudi women are joining the Kingdom’s workforce and, in many cases, working in fields that were once dominated by men. Ibrahim Al-Hazmi, an unmarried Saudi, said women who work ease the burden on their partners in meeting the family’s expenses.
“A working woman does not trouble her husband because she understands the value of money and her spending habits are restricted. Marrying an employed woman is the best way in meeting the high cost of living,” he said.
Saeed Al-Qathami agreed but said women can work as long as they meet certain conditions, such as working in an all-female environment.
“Women are part of society and they are fulfilling their obligation to society by working. Women can work in businesses that have female sections and as long as conditions pertaining to time and place of work are met,” he said.
Abdul Aziz Siddique said having a job helps women spend their free time in a productive way and help their husbands in building a family.
“For me, a housewife and employed wife are equal but work helps women spend their free time wisely and they can support their husbands in raising a generation that is progressive and aware of the sacrifices their parents had to make,” he said.
However, several men who spoke to the Makkah daily said they preferred their wives stay at home. Al-Baraa Hajar was one such man.
“A housewife is ideal because she can give attention to children while the husband concentrates on providing for his family,” he said.
This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on Sunday, June 22, 2014.