Saudi Pegs Dowry At N2.6m To Contain Rising Rate Of Spinsterhood

Following a sharp rise in the number of unmarried women in Saudi Arabia, the government has moved to fix dowries, which are seen as the major cause of widespread spinsterhood.

The move is sequel to instructions from Mecca Governor, Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also adviser to King Salman. The Mecca region’s Twitter account said that Prince Khaled has directed city governors in the region to hold a meeting to prepare a document mentioning the dowry amounts as instructed.

An unmarried woman’s dowry has been officially fixed at SR50,000 (N2.7m) while for a divorcee, it would be SR30,000. (N1.6m) A message from the emir’s office to the governors said: “Further to what has been recently observed about the high dowries that have contributed to the rise in the number of spinsters, a meeting of city governors with tribal elders is required to prepare a document identifying marriage dowries, that should be ratified by provincial courts, and submitted to the emir of the region.”

A recent study conducted by a faculty member at the Islamic University, Ali Al-Zahrani, revealed that the number of spinsters in Saudi Arabia in the current year is around 4 million as compared to nearly 1.5 million in 2010. Ahmed Al-Sinani, an expert on social issues, attributed the high rate to several major causes, including high dowries, expensive functions, some parents marrying off daughters for money, high unemployment rate among youth in recent years, housing crisis and the absence of the role of social and charitable institutions.

Al-Sinani considered the massive rents of wedding halls to be one of the reasons behind the out-of-proportion spinsterhood with prices ranging from SR50,000 to SR90,000 which are out of reach for the majority of young people of marriageable age.

Al-Sinani called on businessmen and charities to shoulder their social responsibility by building wedding halls and renting them out to young couples for a nominal fee. Majid Al-Matrafi, another expert, stressed the need to adopt solutions and initiatives by regional governors to facilitate marriages for young people. Source:

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