Saudi women in medicine

There is a stigma against Saudi women who go into the field of medicine. It is hard to understand why exactly other than it being a cultural view.

The various comments that I have heard are the following:

  • The women will end up married to their careers
  • Women will work in mixed environments (medical facilities are not segregated like the rest of the work world in KSA)
  • The women will end up getting married late or not at all
  • Women in the field are considered “easy”
  • Men do not want their wives to be doctors

As you might have realized, these comments are not all reasons or even justifications for why women should not join this noble field, they are merely expressions of cultural opinions.

Considering that this is one of the few professions that hires women, and that so many women would prefer female doctors to be dealing with them, one wonders why it is not considered “good” for a Saudi woman to become a doctor. She would be serving a need and helping her country’s economy at the same time. Doctors and nurses are imported to fill most openings around here- clearly Saudization is not required in the field!

There is however a growing number of women who are enrolling in medical school and entering the field as doctors, dentists and lab workers (no nurses yet). Yet another indicator of change.

A sobering reminder of the hurdles in their path is this recent heart breaking news story. A father savagely murdered his daughter by stabbing her and slitting her throat because she was studying medicine.

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2 Responses

  1. […] faced by Saudi women working in medicine, including the idea that women in the field are considered “easy”. Posted by Ayesha Saldanha  Print version Share […]

  2. […] Saudi women in medicine « life thru dusty lenses […]

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