...Fatima al-Sayegh notes, the fishermen’s protests had little to do with time and everything to do with money, because women could sell fish at far higher prices than their male colleagues. They simply had a better understanding of the market than did their husbands. Since fishermen would want to strive to get the best price for their fish, they understood that the best people for the job were their women.
Affirmative Action is the problem! Obviously Women have Advantages in Free Capitalism! Enlightening gender study on Arabs. Apparently our http://xrl.us/feminists got the Arabs wrong as well.
“gender questions” in the Gulf will no longer focus exclusively on women, the veil, and other related issues—as they have for generations. Instead, they will revolve around how to integrate young men (including those in their twenties and thirties) into society and make them productive individuals before they engage in behavior that is dangerous to themselves and others.
A Saudi college dropout told the Washington Post in 2007 that young Saudi men yearn to be equal with young Saudi women and many face severe restrictions: “Young men are oppressed here [in Saudi Arabia]…All I want is equality with girls.”
...These insights take on greater importance when one bears in mind that Saudi society looks at marriage as a socioeconomic alliance between families or between tribes. Within this arrangement, brides have substantial say in marriages and wide latitude to reject potential spouses. Furthermore, when it comes to picking marital partners, families expect young men to defer to the judgment of others in their family, including their mothers and other female family members. The comparative weakness of Saudi men of all ages appears in Saudi novelist’s Raja’a al-Sanea’s 2006 work, The Girls of Riyadh. Throughout the novel, the male characters, including the most powerful and educated, cannot overcome their families’ various objections to their desire to marry the Saudi and non-Saudi women they love. Commenting on the state of Saudi men, one female character notes that they are “passive and weak…just pawns their families move around the chessboard.” Even in the most conservative of Gulf societies, Saudi Arabia, Islamic patriarchy clearly can have limits."
By contrast, indigenous Arab Gulf women offer an alternative solution to employing expatriates, especially those with skills. In Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar, and Kuwait, female enrollment in higher education significantly exceeds that of men, sometimes by as much as 24 percent. Women dominate a variety of disciplines in the liberal arts and journalism, in which they represent as much as 90 percent of the students. Female students work far harder than their male counterparts and regularly outperform them in secondary and postsecondary institutions. In Kuwait, women’s success at the college level has been a political issue, with Islamist politicians claiming that it is unfair and demoralizing for Kuwaiti men to have to compete with female students. In Bahrain, female high school students have a long tradition of outperforming their male counterparts. In 2007, for example, the girls graduated at a rate of 74.36 percent, compared to only 53.37 percent for the boys
http://xrl.us/ArabGenders Finally, it is significant that the problems of men in Gulf societies are analogous to those faced by men in the United States and elsewhere during the current economic downturn. A white paper produced by the Georgia Department of Labor in July 2009 called for the state radically to alter how it delivers social services to men, a significant percentage of whom are in grave danger of becoming “structurally unemployed.” The report noted that men in Georgia and in other parts of the United States—much like men in the Arab Gulf states—lack basic modern skills and lag far behind women in educational achievement. The report also noted the striking statistic that the percentage of students who are female in Georgia’s universities, colleges, and technical institutes is approximately 60 percent, a number that is in line with the percentages in the Gulf.
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