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Last Updated: Monday, 11 April 2005, 10:42 GMT 11:42 UK
My life in Saudi: Rosana
Eight young Saudi women discuss their lives and how they hope to progress in the next 10 years.

22, student

21, student

22, student

21, student

17, student

27, translator

21, housewife


My main concerns are balancing responsibilities, and how women can do it if they put their mind to it.

I am 21 years old and a wife and mother. I'm majoring in educational psychology as I would like to teach later on or train teachers, or become a school councillor.

College is very important to me because I believe education is the most important element to a developed people.

But so are my husband and my baby boy. These people are the most important people to me right now, because they're the source of my happiness and my joy in life.

I also love reading. It makes me feel open-minded, educated and knowledgeable about other people.

I've been keeping diaries since I was 13. Writing, to me, is like self-expression, almost like my own personal counsellor. Reading and writing have a special relationship with my life.

Rosana with her husband and child
Rosana hopes to balance home life and a successful career
Recently my husband began a new business selling bread. I feel so happy and proud of what we've done as a couple. We've helped each other and used our strength to build this business together. We wanted to do it to become more independent.

In 10 years, I see myself as a happy mother and wife, because I think that's the most important thing.

And after that, if I become a teacher, I will finish my higher education, Masters and Phd and maybe perform more psychological research, maybe become a school councillor, maybe become a writer... I don't know yet.

For now, I'm just enjoying my life with all those beautiful things in front of me.

The following comments reflect the balance of views received:

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

All these negative comments, especially from Western readers about Muslim women getting education, having dreams in vain, reflects nothing but the deep rooted jealousy and hatred of their self-centred ideologies. The high moral values of the noble women of the Muslim world cannot be stomached by them. They also want our societies to be as corrupt and degenerated as theirs, they always want to see us in trouble and suffering, no matter what we do.
Haroon, Pakistan

Education for women does not necessarily mean that she has to work. Education elevates the women and helps in bringing up her kids. Islam honours the woman even more than man. The Koran and Hadees (teachings of the prophet) explain in detail the importance given to a mother in a saying that "Paradise lies at the feet of the mother". We don't need any media to explain how Islam treats women. I must admit that certain Muslim countries are behind in giving the rights that Islam gave to the women but this is a political or social problem in not implementing Islamic teachings.
Yasser, VA, USA

It's encouraging to read that these women are trying to get education and set an example for the others in the society. Interestingly, none of these women talk about politics. If we look at the youth in other parts of the world, most of them seem to be taking interest in the affairs of their government.
Rohan, New York, USA

I congratulate these courageous and intelligent young women. I must say though, the juxtaposition of such wonderful ideas, dreams and hopeful minds, against the backdrop of a highly unequal social system which discriminates so much against women - this made me sad. All the more urgently, this system needs to change and allow these women freedoms and opportunities to investigate their interests.

I am so glad that women of my country are opening up and starting to realise what's important to them, rather than having people setting their goals for them. It is very pleasing to see that women are starting to push themselves to work and get the best kind of education. I myself studied abroad and am currently working at a male-dominated profession. I advise all women to work hard on what they believe in and ignore all the negative feedback they will get along the way.
L, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

What is it with you people? Why is that everything Muslims do is wrong. Everything about them is wrong. Ask this question to yourself, how long did it take before European women became active, before they had the right to vote? Up until today, there hasn't been an woman president in the US, but if you look around Muslim world, there are is woman PM, president and so on. It's OK for a Christian sister to cover up, it's her religious belief but for a Muslim woman to cover up is oppression.

If Saudi women can't "go out" as much as they wish these days, why not start raising their children whose orientations, breeding, or ideals embody their (Saudi women) aspirations or the changes they would like to see in the future. As these children grow old - and will man their society, they will bring about the change. Upon the children of today the future lies. Their orientation of today will spell the change. Mothers have all the chance and opportunity to mould a better generation of citizens from their very own children. It's all in their vision. Start early. Start from your very own.
Voltaire Rio Lemi, Gonzaga Cagayan, Philippines

I am surprised that some of the readers think that these women would actually spend time away from their families in order to pursue a degree in vain. What information sources are telling us that these women cannot constructively use their higher education? Saudi is changing fast - it's not what it used to be and women have so many more opportunities compared to when I was growing up there in the 80's and 90's.
Aya, Richmond, VA, USA

We in America can learn from experiences from women in other parts of the world. I have had the opportunity to visit the Middle East and was surprised to find that Arab women are some of the strongest women I have ever met. Their roots with their families and religion run very deep. I was very impressed with their dignity, high levels of self-esteem and desire for higher learning. I feel that because of my exposure to the Arab women I was positively influenced. We in America can learn so much by their strengths. They clearly demonstrate a strong sense of compassion and support towards each other. Truly, some of the most amazing women in this world.
Rosanna Jennett, Malibu, California, USA

I lived in Riyadh and I found the women to be smart and intelligent but the Religious Muttawa have an iron-grip on their freedoms. To vote, drive a car, join the workforce and contribute their talents to the nation's economy. That is the real shame and one can only hope that things will change.
N. Hunt, Lodi, USA

I am really surprised at the negative comments of some of the readers. It seems that even when Muslims or Arabs are presented as individuals with goals and dreams, it is still not enough. These women should be congratulated and we should learn more about and respect them. I lived in Saudi for two years (as an instructor in a Teachers' College) and was always surprised at the talent, uniqueness and promise of many of my students.
Abdul-Qadir, Princeton, New Jersey

It is great to see the example of an active Muslim woman, who is able to fulfil the inner home commitment and also the dream of any human being - looking forward to a healthy career in life.
Abdul Ludhi, England

What is point of getting very good education, if you cannot go out work in your own country. I know the main reason for education is improve oneself and others. You cannot contribute to your own society. We seen the wind of democracy blow across Eastern Europe. I doubt anything will happen like that in Middle East - since they are not interested in protecting their religion rather than rights of individual.
V Shanm, London

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