Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes, I feel there are definitely issues with gender equality. - Oct 2019


Again, absolute monarchy and theocracy. Jeddah's more liberal than the rest of the country, but it's not like there are churches or synagogues. See above: re prejudices. Gender equality is a changing situation here. In the last year the Saudi government allowed women to get driver's licenses, and this has frankly gone more smoothly than I would have expected. There are strict guardianship rules for Saudi women, but these mainly do not apply to Westerners. In theory, it is Consulate policy that women do not have to wear an abaya or cover their hair. In reality, most women at least have an abaya, particularly if they do not look stereotypically Western. I think women live a tough life in Saudi Arabia, and a lot of Saudi men still are learning how to deal with women, especially women who are not direct relatives. There is still a large faction of this society where men believe it is their role to tell women how to dress and behave, and no matter the de jure changes, the de facto situation is going to take time to resolve. The guardianship issue is a real mechanism of control in conservative families, and men need to be cautious in engaging with women in public who are not related to them. - Mar 2019


Obviously gender equality issues in Saudi. It's not as obvious with Western women or with the people you will hang out with, but you may sense it in more rural areas and if you are speaking to Saudi women. You'll get used to people not looking at women in the eye or shaking their hands. Do not expect equality like the states. - Jan 2019


Religious prejudices as it is a strictly Islamic religious country. Women are highly discriminated against. - Apr 2016


Religious - yes, you can't even wear a cross. And gender is a big issue here: women cannot drive, have to wear the islamic abaya (black long dress with long sleeves) the mutawa can be nasty if you don't wear a scarf to cover your self. In the restaurants, banks and some other places there is an entrance for women and families and an other one for men. - Nov 2015


Yes! I've heard that sometimes people of African or Philippine or Hindu heritage are not treated well. - Oct 2015


Of course, the only accepted religion here is Islam. - Oct 2015


Non-Arab and non-white colleagues have faced issues, but not as bad as in other places. - Aug 2015


I think so, but not against Americans, they love blond kids! Saudis are actually gentle with us. Men can be weird, some of them don't want to take the elevator if you are there, and don't even look in to your eyes. - Feb 2014


The truth is that Saudis are, broadly speaking, racist against non-Saudis. The way that Saudis treat their domestic workers, drivers, etc. is, frankly, appalling. They seem to observe a racial hierarchy, with Saudis at the top, followed by other wealthy Gulf Arabs and white Westerners, then other Arabs, then South and Southeast Asians, which typically work in the Kingdom in jobs Saudis deem beneath them. I don't have a sense for how Saudis view East Asians or Latin Americans. Obviously, Saudis don't do so well at tolerating religious differences, and I don't think I need to elaborate further on gender prejudices. - Dec 2013


Yes. Asians and Africans run into racism a lot. Christians are discouraged from wearing crosses or anything that advertises their religious differences. Women aren't generally seen as equal with men, and in my observation the more religious a man is, the less likely he is to shake a woman's hand or even look at her when he speaks to her. - May 2013


Probably more than any other country on earth. - Nov 2010


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