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Saudi Arabia

  • By: Miranda E. Jennings
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an absolute monarchy that has been ruled by the Al Saud family since the country's unification in 1932.

Saudi Arabia follows its own state-sponsored version of Sunni Islam, known as Wahhabism, which is considered one of the most conservative interpretations of the faith. The government and judicial system are based on the Saudi construction of Islamic law, which does not accept the premise that men and women should be treated equally. Women are subject to tighter legal restrictions on personal behavior than are men.

Saudi Arabia is a hierarchical society that values obedience, with the younger deferring to the older and women deferring to men in the family. Consequently, the biases built into the laws of the Kingdom and into their ...

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