Saudi Women Outside of the Kingdom

There have been many discussions and writings about Saudi men and their actions when they are outside of the Kingdom. However I was recently asked if I could common upon what kind of changes in any take place with Saudi women when outside of the Kingdom. Although this post would be best written by a Saudi woman, I’m happy to share some observations and comments.

Part of what a Saudi woman may or may not be able to do when outside of the Kingdom will not only depend on where she is but upon her mahrem as well. Remember, a Saudi woman usually does not travel or stay for any period outside of the Kingdom without the mahrem or male guardian.

In regards to my own observations, I’ve been fortunate to know Saudi women in most places I have traveled to or lived. I have noticed that the Saudi woman in the States is perhaps more open than the Saudi woman who has traveled elsewhere in the East. It is not unusual for many of the Saudi women in the States to learn how to drive, obtain a drivers license and enjoy this newfound privilege! Many of them also take advantage of the other freedoms such as going out and about freely such as to the theatres, museums and other presentations in spite of their being mixed. The majority of Saudi women I know in the States have dropped the abaya but usually choose to retain the hijjab. However on return to the Kingdom they will resume both the abbaya and hijjab with niqab.

Many of the women enjoy the openness and freedom they experience when out with their husband and children. In fact, some of the Saudi women I’ve known in the States told me that they have felt closer to their husband while in the States and that they experienced more activities and closeness as a couple whereas in the Kingdom the culture and traditions seemed to pull them apart instead of together. They also remarked that they enjoyed the opportunities for the children in that there were a variety of activities associated with school. The boys (and girls) had the opportunity to be on soccer teams, little league, Boy Scouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts.

Naturally they also continued to enjoy some of the same pastimes as in the Kingdom such as exploring and shopping at the various shopping malls and stores in the States. Although many in the States may not have a housemaid like in the Kingdom, their homes are usually spotless and their hospitality the most welcoming. The Saudi homes I have been in while in the States continued to have typical Saudi style design, furnishings and artwork. And in my experience, the Saudi women continued to serve traditional Saudi dishes, kawa and sweets.


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