Over the past decade, the status of women within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has changed significantly. This doesn’t imply to the rights they have as female citizens of the Kingdom but includes and focuses entirely on their status as being recognized as equals within the Saudi society. Not too long ago, women were only subjected to the compounds and vicinities of their homes. Now, women have grown out and begun working within the Kingdom if they can manage to get the permission from their male Mahram.[irp]
Such changes had gained wide recognition worldwide as now the perception of the western people for the Saudi women had begun to revolutionize. Women did not just stay home and manage their marital and parental duties, but now they managed their work and helped contribute to the economy of the Kingdom effectively.
While many applauded the Saudi women for contributing to the ever growing economy of the Kingdom, there were many who would still try ways to break the morale of the women and did not consider it “appropriate” for them to work and leave their homes. According to such stereotypes, they are not adhering to the norms of Islam and women in our religion must only stay at home and are there just to take care of their husbands and children, nothing more.
Just as many people accepted the situated, there are still many illiterate women in the country who are found along roadsides who are found selling tissue papers as a way of their income. Can we say that they are forced to do such jobs because the government is unable to fund for them? Perhaps, but not entirely.
It has been reported that over the years there has been a growing number of poor women who are found selling tissue papers for 8 hours a day in different weather condition. Whether it’s the scorching sun, extreme cold or even heavy rain, these women remain on the streets and sell tissue papers just to feed the children they have at home. After conducting several interviews with some of the women, they all said the same story of how they and their children were abandoned by their husband.
He has failed to pay for their children and now she must sell cheap tissues which only help her earn around SR 50 a day. The amount is not enough, but it’s still all she can earn since she is illiterate and she has been neglected of all help by her family. These women have also talked about how they are not offered special services by the government since they are married and the offers are only for either the widowed or divorced women of the society.[irp]
They receive food from charitable organizations which aren't enough to feed their 5 to 7 children. They are grateful to those people who pay up more than the cost of the tissue and that money helps the family last with food a couple of days extra.
Source: Al Arabiya