Alarm over rising rate of Saudi spinsterhood

Updated 19 January 2015

Alarm over rising rate of Saudi spinsterhood

The number of unmarried Saudi women over 30 reached 33.45 percent in the last 10 years, or 1.52 million of the total population of 4.57 million women, local media reported on Sunday.
Reports quoted Mohammed Al-Abdul Qadir, head of the Wiam Family Care Society, who stressed the need for a “community engineering,” based on field studies, to be carried out by experts in different areas.
For more than two decades, Saudi society has encouraged the concept of mass marriages in a bid to fight the growing rate of spinsterhood, the expert said.
According to Abdul Qadir, although these initiatives are individually or voluntary-oriented, the time has come to streamline the ideas through an overall social reform, taking into consideration development plans in different parts of the Kingdom.
The family expert said marriage organizers still focus on the regulatory side of the issue.
He called on the experts to look for community-based solutions to ensure the stability of marriages by providing job opportunities and creation of joint ventures for the couples through initiatives undertaken by both private and public sector companies.
The 7th forum of Saudi Family Care Societies, scheduled for next month in Dammam, will explore some 30 new researches and initiatives in this regard, he pointed out.

Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

Updated 18 min 11 sec ago

Middle East's love affair with the moon and space

  • The UAE and Saudi Arabia are inaugurating a new era of Arab space exploration
  • Saudi Prince Sultan entered the history books when he journeyed into space on Discovery in 1985

RIYADH: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before schools were due to start after summer vacation. 

Fifty years ago today, Saudis joined the world in gathering around TV sets to watch a live broadcast of what was once thought impossible: American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps on the moon. 

Armstrong famously said: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” True to his words, advancement in space has skyrocketed since the Apollo 11 mission, opening up doors for space scientists to reach for the stars.

It was only 16 years later that Saudi Prince Sultan bin Salman became the first Arab, Muslim — and royal — astronaut to travel into space. Before traveling to Houston for the Apollo mission anniversary, he sat down with Arab News in an exclusive interview to talk about his NASA mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery in June 1985.

Prince Sultan, recently appointed chairman of the Saudi Space Commission, was only 13 when he watched the historic moon landing on TV. The picture quality might have been poor and the sound garbled, but footage of the landing captured his imagination.

“Humans made airplanes and made advances in industry, but for humans to leave their own planet, that’s really something else,” Prince Sultan told Arab News. 

Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old. “It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

It has been more than 30 years since space last had an Arab visitor (Syria’s Muhammed Faris became the second Arab in space on board USSR’s Soyuz spacecraft in 1987). But this September, the first Emirati will become the latest Arab visitor when he joins a team of astronauts at the International Space Station (ISS).

Hazza Al-Mansoori will travel to space on board a Soyuz-MS 15 spacecraft that is due to take off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on Sept. 25.