Women's sport is controversial due to the suppression of female participation in sport by conservative Islamic religious authorities,  however this restriction has eased slightly in recent years. Segregated seating, allowing women to enter, has been developed in three stadiums across major cities. Saudi Arabian cuisine is similar to that of the surrounding countries in the Arabian Peninsula and the wider Arab world, and has influenced and been influenced by Turkish, Indian, Persian, and African food.
Islamic dietary laws are enforced: Flat, unleavened taboon bread is a staple of virtually every meal, as are dates , fresh fruit, yoghurt and hummus. Coffee, served in the Arabic style , is the traditional beverage but tea and various fruit juices are popular as well. The earliest substantiated evidence of either coffee drinking or knowledge of the coffee tree is from the 15th century, in the Sufi monasteries of Arabia.
Women do not have equal rights to men in the kingdom; the U. State Department considers Saudi Arabian government's discrimination against women a "significant problem" in Saudi Arabia and notes that women have few political rights due to the government's discriminatory policies.
Under Saudi law, every adult female must have a male relative as her "guardian" wali ,  As of , a woman was required to have permission from her male guardian in order to travel, study, or work.
The order however also stated that it should only be allowed if it doesn't contradict the Sharia system. According to a leading Saudi feminist and journalist, Wajeha al-Huwaider , "Saudi women are weak, no matter how high their status, even the 'pampered' ones among them, because they have no law to protect them from attack by anyone. Women face discrimination in the courts, where the testimony of one man equals that of two women in family and inheritance law. The average age at first marriage among Saudi females is 25 years in Saudi Arabia,  with child marriage no longer common.
Obesity is a problem among middle and upper class Saudis who have domestic servants to do traditional work but, until , were forbidden to drive and so are limited in their ability to leave their home. The religious police , known as the mutawa , impose many restrictions on women in public in Saudi Arabia. Although Saudi Arabia imposes a strict dress code on women throughout the country by using religious police , female anchors working for Al-Arabia news network which is partly owned by Prince Abdulaziz , the son of the late King Fahad , are prohibited from wearing a veil and are encouraged to adopt a Western dress code.
A few Saudi women have risen to the top of the medical profession; for example, Dr. Ghada Al-Mutairi heads a medical research center in California  and Dr. On 25 September , King Abdullah announced that Saudi women would gain the right to vote and to be candidates in municipal elections, provided that a male guardian grants permission. In August , a law was passed that criminalized domestic violence against women.
In April , bin Salman announced a project to build one of the world's largest cultural, sports and entertainment cities in Al Qidiya, southwest of Riyadh. The square kilometre city will include a safari and a Six Flags theme park. As of February , Saudi women can now open their own business, without a male's permission. In March a law was passed allowing Saudi mothers to retain custody of their children after divorce without having to file any lawsuits. In April the first public cinema opened in Saudi Arabia after a ban of 35 years, with plans to have more than 2, screens running by In June , King Salman issued a decree allowing women to drive , lifting the world's only ban on women drivers.
Other domestic reforms include significant regulations restricting the powers of the religious police and establishing a national entertainment authority that has hosted comedy shows, pro wrestling events, and monster truck rallies. Further cultural developments include the first Saudi public concerts by a female singer, the first Saudi sports stadiums to admit women, and an increased presence of women in the workforce.
Education is free at all levels. The school system is composed of elementary, intermediate, and secondary schools. A large part of the curriculum at all levels is devoted to Islam, and, at the secondary level, students are able to follow either a religious or a technical track. The rate of literacy is Higher education has expanded rapidly, with large numbers of Universities and colleges being founded particularly since Institutions of higher education include the country's first university, King Saud University founded in , the Islamic University at Medina founded in , and the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah founded in Other colleges and universities emphasize curricula in sciences and technology, military studies, religion, and medicine.
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Institutes devoted to Islamic studies, in particular, abound. Women typically receive college instruction in segregated institutions. The Academic Ranking of World Universities , known as Shanghai Ranking, ranked 4 of Saudi Arabian institutions among its — list of the top universities in the world. According to critics, Saudi curriculum is not just dominated by Islam but suffers from Wahhabi dogma that propagates hatred towards non-Muslim and non-Wahhabis  and lacks technical and other education useful for productive employment. Memorization by rote of large parts of the Qur'an, its interpretation and understanding Tafsir and the application of Islamic tradition to everyday life is at the core of the curriculum.
Religion taught in this manner is also a compulsory subject for all University students. That's not generally what Saudi Arabia's educational system delivers, steeped as it is in rote learning and religious instruction. The religious sector of the Saudi national curriculum was examined in a report by Freedom House which concluded that "the Saudi public school religious curriculum continues to propagate an ideology of hate toward the 'unbeliever', that is, Christians, Jews, Shiites, Sufis, Sunni Muslims who do not follow Wahhabi doctrine, Hindus , atheists and others".
This radical teaching takes place in Saudi funded mosques and madrasas across the Islamic world from Morocco to Pakistan to Indonesia. According to the educational plan for secondary high school education — Hijri , students enrolling in the "natural sciences" path are required to take five religion subjects which are: In addition, students are required to take six science subjects which are Maths, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology and Computer.
The approach taken in the Saudi education system has been accused of encouraging Islamic terrorism , leading to reform efforts. It also aims to create an education system which will provide a more secular and vocationally based training. As of , Saudi Arabia ranks 28 worldwide in terms of high-quality research output according to the renowned scientific journal Nature.
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Saudi Arabia has a life expectancy of From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see KSA disambiguation. Country in Western Asia. Saudi Arabian Saudi informal. History of Saudi Arabia. Ottoman era in the history of Saudi Arabia. Unification of Saudi Arabia.
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