Saudi internet freedom improved slightly in 2015-16 due to greater internet access, although the environment remains marked by pervasive censorship and severe punishments for online activism in support of human rights.Amid fiscal troubles, mounting tensions with Iran, and the ongoing Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen, authorities in Saudi Arabia are on high alert for public expressions of dissent.In 2011, more than 1.5 million Saudi women aged over 30 were single, according to the economy and planning ministry.According to government figures, 3.3 million are women over 30 in this nation of 20 million people – and if the ministry’s 2011 figure is unchanged, it means that about 45 per cent of Saudi women over 30 are single.The growing number of single women has alarmed clerics, who have responded by pushing for early marriage and warning of alleged evil consequences of “spinsterhood”, such as sex outside wedlock.Traditionally, women in Saudi Arabia are expected to be married by their early twenties.
Several well-known activists were sentenced to 8–10 years in prison over the past year, while ordinary citizens and migrant workers were also targeted for smaller online crimes.
Amna Fatani knows she wants a brilliant career and a life different from that of Saudi women of her mother’s generation who married early, usually to a husband not of their own choosing.
The 27-year-old, studying for her master’s degree at Georgetown University in Washington and hoping to someday become Saudi Arabia’s first female labour minister, is part of a growing number of Saudi women choosing to remain single through their twenties and into their thirties as they pursue other ambitions.
Saudi Arabia is hardly renowned for its perfect treatment of its women so you can be sure that these young women would have been completely terrified of the potential repercussions of being exposed as the sort of girl that would flash their underwear or less for the camera phone!
Most families would not tolerate this behavior and would likely take extreme measures against the women involved.