For my MDG’s course, I researched Saudi Arabia on how it is achieving one of the MDG’s (Millennium Development Goals). I explored how gender equality is pursued there. The point of this project was to show the international effect of MDG’s. I learned how to make a map that can represent data in many different places. What I am proud of is my final paper and the graphs I got to make electronically. Enjoy my country profile below!
Gender Equality in Saudi Arabia
This country profile examines how one millennium development goal (MDG) is being pursued in Saudi Arabia. MDG 3.1 aims to “eliminate gender disparities in primary and secondary education, to all levels of education no later than 2015”. To show this target in Saudi Arabia, I focused on women in universities. I compared a women- only university in Saudi Arabia to a co-ed university in the U.S. I conducted an interview with a person from Saudi Arabia, and I analyzed a news article that addresses this target on a country level.
In Saudi Arabia women are very respected in everything. A recent article from the Guardian website, reported by Homa Khaleeli, states that “Almost 60% of the country’s college graduates are women, but 78% of female university graduates are apparently unemployed- despite the fact more than 1,000 hold a doctorate degree. In total only 15% of Saudi Arabia’s workforce are women,” (“Saudi Arabia Is Planning All-Female Cities So Women Can Work, 2012”). I personally think women do not work because work is an activity for men (in the Middle East). In addition in Saudi Arabia women stay home, but this is a sign of respect in their culture. If I compared these statistics to the U.S I would say that women in the U.S are more likely to be enrolled in college than men, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As you see women’s education in the U.S compared to Saudi Arabia is very similar.
Although women in Saudi Arabia compose the same percentage of college students as women in the U.S,there are also differences in the way they access education. In my Saudi Arabia map the place that is highlighted is where Princess Noura University is located. On the U.S map I have Texas highlighted, and it is where the University Of Texas in Austin located. Both of these colleges have around 51 thousand students. However Princess Noura University is the biggest women’s college in the world (“Saudi Arabia’s First Women’s University,” Rawan Jabaji, 2008), and the University of Texas is one of the top co-ed schools in the U.S, according to topuniversities.com.
To learn more about gender equality and women education I interviewed, Asim Alshaikhmbarek. Asim is from Saudi Arabia, and he went to men-only schools his whole life. I asked him about his opinion on education in Saudi Arabia, and he said, “Schools in Saudi Arabia are not so good. They need to make it fun.” I asked him about the education of women, and he stated, “I have never been in school where women are around. I like being away from women because I feel that each of us gets to learn better.” From hearing Asims opinion I really got to learn new things about what I am studying.
In conclusion, I would say that equality can be defined in many different ways depending on your background. In my opinion, I can say equality is about comparing women to men. From the statistics I had above, I can say Saudi Arabia’s education is as high as the U.S. Although women in Saudi Arabia dont have jobs like women in America, but these have two differnt cultures. I would also state that looking at women in different cultures will help you better understand your own culture.