By Tamjid Alkohali
The risk of women’s rights in educational and public life, and in male society, is that women fall victim to spinsterhood. It seems like a rule that if a woman wants to complete her education, and work to depend on herself, she will lose her marital life.
Recently, families have begun to realize the importance of education and work, so that they will have more opportunities to study and be employed, especially in the cities. However, marriage prospects are negatively affected.
According to 2012 statistics, the rate of women who reached the age of 35 years and didn’t get married is 35%. Most of them are women workers. It seems that most men do not want to marry working women for different reasons.
Hossam al-Harthy, who studies at the fourth level in Sana’a University’s Faculty of Arts, says that it’s impossible for him to marry an educated woman because he doesn’t trust them.
“I consider a girl who talks with men to be impolite, because the girl in her nature should be shy, but most of the educated girls especially in the university talk and deal with the boys, which makes them no different from boys. So I prefer to marry a girl from the village, for she is shyer and more innocent than educated girls.”
Al-Harthy maintained that education is important for everyone, and that he is educated enough to know that, but this is his opinion and there are many men like him.
Kamaal al-Yauberi, a 39-year old accountant at an active learning school, married her cousin after finishing secondary school, and agreed that it is difficult.
“Woman is created in order to care for the house, husband, and children, but man is created to provide for the family’s needs through work and to face all the difficulties outside his house. So, if she works outside, this would distract her from her main responsibility in live, and then family problems are created.”
She argued that secondary school is enough for women, so they can read and write, and so she can help her children in their studies and educate herself at home, but higher education is only important for men to get jobs.
However, Ahmed, a manager at the Future School, does not believe these arguments. According to him, educated women are more patient, have deeper thinking, and can better handle life problems. Ahmed married one of his classmates, however, he didn’t let her work.
“It’s something out of my hand. I feel jealous when she talks with men, or when I see men looking at her. I don’t know why, but it may be because I know quite well that most men don’t deal with girls innocently.”
Ahmed emphasized that he will allow his wife to work as long as there are no men.
Tribal customs and traditions, and society’s views on women workers, mean that men prefer to marry girls from villages, or those that they can prevent from having a practical life. Working women have their own opinions on the issue.
Samia al-Hajari, Tribal customs and traditions, and the society’s view toward the woman worker make men prefer to marry girls from villages, or prevent them of their practical life. From other side, women have their own opinions on this issue.
Samia al-Hajari, who has been a journalist at Yemen Today for four years, said that she likes her job, and is constantly improving her skills while learning more and more. That is why she didn’t get married, along with the fact that many men do not respect that.
“Until now, I haven’t met a suitable man who accepts my job, which demands me to work until 9 PM, and there are still many goals I want to achieve in my life. I know that marriage will be an obstacle for me.”
Amaal, a 35 year-old secretary at al-Malk Hospital, agrees, but adds that she does not want to suffer with a dominant husband.
“I believe today,there isn’t an ideal man who respects women, does his best to provide for her, and ensure that her children have a decent life. Most men today have a weak personality, and they are irresponsible.”
Amaal decided to marry her job, which will ensure her a decent and quiet life.
Huda Abdalkader is a little different. She is 37, and works as a hairdresser. Abdalkader says that she likes her job, and that many people say that she is creative, and a lot of women go to her for the special occasions and parties.
She says that she doesn’t want to get married for two reasons. First is because she considers this to be her fate, and second because of the nature of her job. Abdalkader explained that many Yemenis consider her job to be traditional, and that not only is she deprived of marriage, but she is also exposed to many bad rumors.
Poet and writer Nawal Rasheed says that she has a lot of admirers. People at her job respect her, and encourage her to travel and participate in artistic events in order to add to her fame. However, she knows well that men do not want to marry a woman who is well-known and has an open mind like her.
Family counselor Abdul Rahman says that the nature of man means that he likes to be stronger, and wants to command everything. Therefore, he doesn’t like women who work or move up in their career. Additionally, men don’t like women who argue, instead preferring ones who depend on him and are too afraid to leave.
He added that this way of thinking is related to some traditional opinions of conservative society, which considers women working outside and their dealings with men to be a defect. He also pointed out that male jealousy of working women and their success means that he will always go against their aims.
The rate of spinsterhood among working women is increasing in Arab society more generally, with Yemen being just one example. Traditions and customs are the cause of resistance all over the Middle East, especially when women deal with men in their jobs.