JEDDAH — Not so long ago, it was unusual for one to hear that a woman in her 20s or early 30s was unmarried. However, since women have been given more opportunities to work and realize their dreams, things have changed. Many working women put off their marriage to build a career.
Lina Muhammad, a Saudi, said she will not sacrifice her career to get married. “I thank God that I did not marry at a young age. If I had done so I would never have been as successful as I am now. I’m doing PhD now,” she said.
“I hold a managerial position in my company and I have also undertaken three language courses. I have visited 15 countries and I am planning to develop my own project. If I was married, I wouldn’t have had the time to do half of what I have done,” she said.
Lina is of the view that there are many things that women can do apart from getting married. “I have several conditions to get married. Yes, I am 31, but no one can force me to get married. I will not marry unless I find a man who understands the nature of my job and understands that I need to travel on work related matters and spend nights away from home,” she said.
“He also needs to understand that my job and career come first. If he cannot understand all of this, he will destroy all that I have painstakingly achieved so far,” she added.
Sara Ali, another Saudi, believes that her work is the only way to provide her with safety in life and not marriage as many people believe. “I have been working since I was in the university and I am really proud of what I’ve achieved. I believe that if a woman wants to be safe, then she must have a job, be highly educated and has her own money. Men and marriage never provide safety,” she said.
“I’m 29 and I don’t care about what people think about me — my job and career come first. I want a man who understands that. I’m not a servant or a maid, I am a woman. My duty in life is not to cook, feed and raise children or take orders from a man. I’m a woman who struggled to achieve what I have achieved today. I want a man who will support me in my professional life,” said Sara.
Parents usually want their daughters to get married so they can feel that she is safe and if they were to die then she will not be alone without protection. “As other parents, my parents believe that a man will provide me with a safe life, but I believe that my job serves that purpose until I find the right man,” she said.
Another Saudi female, who did not wish to reveal her identity, said she struggled a lot to get to where she is today. Even her family did not support her in building a career and felt there was no reason for her to work. “They tried many times to make me resign from my job and get married, but I never listened to them,” she said.
Her parents even said they would give her a monthly stipend equal to her salary if she stopped working, but she rejected that idea. “I started working many years ago when the idea was something totally rejected by my parents. Even today, we fight every day because of my job. They believe that working is a waste of time, but I believe that I have talent and that I must work,” she said.
“I became a manager in a short period of time. I worked hard and I have my own money. I might be 30 but I’m so happy with my life,” she said. “I love my job, I love my lifestyle. I don’t have a routine, I never get bored because I do is what makes me happy and enjoy life. I haven’t got married because I can’t find a man who understands my lifestyle and respect it,” she said.