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Tue 9 Nov 2010 04:11 PM

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Education pushing up Gulf divorce rates

Women’s increased mobility is playing a role in more couples getting divorced - think tank

Education pushing up Gulf divorce rates
DIVORCE RISE: Modernisation, including urbanisation is also seen imposing new demands on married couples (Getty Images)

Women’s
increasing participation in the workforce in GCC countries and improved
education is contributing to the rise in divorce rates across the region, a
think tank has said Tuesday.

The Ideation
Center, part of global management
consultancy firm Booz & Company, said women’s increased mobility was
playing a role in more couples getting divorced.

“As a result
of their advanced education and labour market participation, many women today
have a mobility they did not have in the past and greater social, financial and
psychological independence. All of these factors combined have resulted in a
dramatic increase of divorce rates,” the think tank said in a statement. 

According to statistics quoted in the statement, divorce rates in Saudi
Arabia reached 20 percent in 2008, 24 percent in Bahrain in 2007, 25.62 percent
in the UAE in 2008, 34.76 percent in Qatar in 2009 and 37.13 percent in Kuwait
in 2007.

Dr Mona
AlMunajjed, Ideation Center’s
senior advisor, said modernisation, including urbanisation was also imposing
new demands on married couples.

“Statistical
data indicates that divorce rates are almost equal to marriage rates within the
20–29 age group, reaching a ceiling in the 30–39 age group, suggesting that
young couples are more likely to divorce often in the first years of marriage,”
she said.

Women are
often more negatively affected by divorce than men, and as such governments in
the GCC are taking steps to offer them more protection, the statement said.

In Bahrain,
the UAE and Qatar
the first female judges have been appointed. Meanwhile, Saudi
Arabia, Qatar
and Kuwaiti have introduced some more financial and custody rights for women,
the company said.

“Another
emphasis may be to strengthen legal protection for women and children and
enforce the implementation of laws preserving the rights of divorced women. GCC
states should bring their national laws into conformity with their
international commitment to gender equality,” Dr AlMunajjed added.

ThinkItThrough 9 years ago

Hang on a minute. You are saying that women are more negatively affected by divorce than men? You don't mention this anywhere, but what are the percentages for men divorcing their wives compared to the other way around? Surely, if it's going to have a more negative affect for the wife, out of the two partners, she's going to be more reluctant to file for divorce.

The way this article is written, it sounds as if the educated women are to blame for this increase (well done on promoting equality btw). Have these researchers considered the possibility that the increased divorce rate might be due to the fact that the husbands are becoming increasingly insecure?

It's worth a thought at least.

A b d 9 years ago


I agree with you ThinkItThrough, the 'insecure' factor is hitting hard the men in this country. Educated woman means a promised good job which means a good pay, this means a woman she can stand on her feet very well without a man. The only thing left is emotional connection, which I believe man need a little therapy in that sector.

Erfan 9 years ago

Well, it is worth noting that there is a social trend these days between women that they just get married for the sake of having a child then ask for divorce. They think of marriage as just a way to get a child, then opt out of the marriage for independence. Family values mean nothing to them. Is this what we want in our society. It is only a matter of time to see a huge surge in the problems in our society as a result of duplicating other societies.

Feras 9 years ago

I very much respect both comments made here so far, but disagree. The main issue I believe is that working women pay less attention to their household, thus the so called 'housewife' status is no longer valid. As such, most Gulf men who expect their wives to tend to their home and personal needs are not fulfilled nor satisfied. I would like to see the percentage of men who divorce and marry soon after. I would presume it is pretty high.

Scaramanga 9 years ago

@ Freas K.S.A

Your comments belong in the 14th century . You have so much to learn , open your eyes and ears my good friend