A recent study put the number of single women in Saudi Arabia at 4 million, 3.5 million more than what was in 2010 – an especially surprising finding, given that Saudi women's freedom is tied up in their relationship with men.
The research found increasing wedding costs are making it difficult for Saudi men to find partners.
“The main cause is the high dowry girls’ parents ask from the grooms,” said Ahmed Al Sinasi, a Saudi sociologist. “Also the cost of wedding has increased noticeably in the past few years, especially rents of wedding halls. The third main reason is un-employment rates among Saudi men, which has increased considerably over the last few years. Not to mention rentals and accommodations issues. All these factors have aided in the increasing number of spinsters in Saudi Arabia.”
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This isn’t the first time the issue has emerged in the kingdom. In fact, the Saudi Gazette reported in 2013 that “spinsterhood is a growing dilemma in Saudi society and is reaching dangerous levels,” mostly due to parents who want to be “in control of their daughters’ salaries” or, as mentioned above, demand exaggerated dowries.
However, a report published earlier this year in January stated that Saudi women in particular are not getting married by choice, mainly to pursue other ambitions such as education or employment. It's a trend alarming clerics in the ultra-conservative Islamic country where marriage is considered as one of the most sacred, and often mandatory, religious rituals.