Mixed gender locations in Saudi: Once again a headline maker!

Once again the ever controversial issue of mixed-gender locations in Saudi Arabia makes headlines as the dean of the nursing college for females at Princess Noura University allegedly submitted her resignation a couple of weeks ago due to her objection on male teachers giving face to face lectures to the college’s female students. This headline all over local newspapers made rich content for a hashtag in twitter created especially in reaction to the news. The public’s opinions started what looked like a virtual war between supporters and those against her act using  the hashtag as its fertile grounds.  The dean supported her claims saying that gender-mixing  is against the all-female university policy as well as the Islamic Shariah laws. Interesting enough the dean’s resignation came even before students were scheduled to return to college after the summer vacation making solid grounds for the denial of the university’s administration.  Supporters who embraced her point of view and stood up for her apparently share the same strict Islamic views as her_ assuming that it was the actual reason behind her quitting her job. Such Islamic views remain controversial since_ against fanatics liking_ there is evidence that in the early days of Islam the prophet Mohammed PBUH performed prayers in mosques with men lined up behind him followed by women with no barriers or walls to separate them.  Additionally, Muslim women used to go out to war alongside with the prophet and his army of male followers in order to fetch water to soldiers, clean the battle field from those who fall wounded and provide medical care to them which all force direct contact and mixing between genders. The prophet at times even gave lectures to an all-female audience after prayers in mosques. Some fanatics argue that the prophet had been given privileges by God that no other human has the right to. Then again those fanatics use the prophet’s marrying a 9 year old; Aisha,  basis for marrying underage girls which is a sheer contradiction to their argument. In more recent times, newspapers and electronic news sites had published reports with images documenting the visits of many well-known Saudi sheikhs who are also a legitimate source for fatwa travelling all over the world to give Islamic lectures to either mixed-gender or all-female attendees. The inconsistency and paradox between the given fatwas and the actions of those fatwa givers is undeniably the root cause of the squabble that occurs among the Saudi people every time an issue of that sort arises including this incident. Coming back to the subject matter, I cannot help but find it a little confusing that the dean of nursing college had probably studied nursing herself while she was aware that she will most likely end up working in a hospital which is a mixed-gender environment and, if according to her moral code, she was lucky enough not to end up in such a workplace there still remains the fact that she was for years a dean in a college whose students graduate to work mainly in mixed-gender facilities. I personally find actions of the sort to have one label “double standards”. The question is what is the dean’s real motives behind the broadcast resignation?!




About Tamador Alyami

Saudi Columnist. I use my voice & pen to advocate equity, humanity, justice & peace!
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