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Social policies and programmes for the eradication of poverty among poor female-headed households in Saudi society (Jeddah City)

Fadaak, Talha (2011) Social policies and programmes for the eradication of poverty among poor female-headed households in Saudi society (Jeddah City). Doctoral thesis, University of Liverpool.

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Abstract

Combating poverty in Saudi Arabia has become an important national target; this study researches poverty in Saudi Society and in particular, female poverty, focusing on poor female-headed households (FHHs) in Jeddah City. This is an exploratory study to highlight the social reality of the FHHs and their female heads, with a focus on the details of their everyday lives and their relationships with social support institutions, namely: the Social Security Department (SSD) and the Charitable Women’s Associations. The main aim of this study is to explore the social reality of these families and how, during their struggles to obtain or maintain a standard of living, they interact with these social support institutions. The study investigated a main sample of 112 FHHs represented by their female heads who were selected purposefully according to a matrix designed to ensure adequate representation across the main sample according to marital status, age group and place of residence (south or north) in Jeddah City. They were also selected by their marital status according to five sub-groups: widows’ families, divorced women’s families, abandoned women’s families, prisoners’ wives’ families and finally married women’s families. A further sample was 18 informants (called ‘elites’) who were selected purposefully from a range of experts, officials and decision makers from different governmental and non-governmental departments to explore and interpret issues raised during the women’s interviews. The interviews with the female heads were based on questions designed to achieve four main goals: 1- to study and identify the social, cultural and demographic characteristics of poor FHHs in Jeddah City. 2- to study and present the poor FHHs’ experiences and how they interacted with their social reality. 3- to study social policies in practice and highlight the relationship between the FHHs and the social support institutions. 4- to make recommendations for formulating an effective social policy for combating poverty among women and poor FHHs in Saudi society. The data and information was collected via different methods such as interviews, document searches, observations, field notes and digital recordings. The data was organized and analysed using a thematic approach to reduce the data, present it and provide conclusive statements. The main findings are organized in chapters 5, 6 and 7 and cover the study goals. The main findings are as follows: The typical poor FHHs were mostly large families and the male head tended to be missing from family life, thus the family was headed by the female. The women had suffered divorce, widowhood, imprisonment of their husbands, abandonment, or their husbands suffered sickness, old age or unemployment. These female heads were mostly uneducated or had a low or basic level of education. The families typically had no regular earned income because the head of the family was not in employment. The majority of the FHHs were tenants and lived in small flats. A significant number of FHHs was deprived of both official support from the SSD and from the women’s associations for various reasons. Some of the women were regarded legally and socially as minority groups because of their ethnicity, family backgrounds and/or nationality. These details provided an honest and clear picture of the lives of the poor FHHs and showed the inter-penetrated realms of these families and their heads that were: 1- public realms (society, culture, state, welfare systems and social support institutions); 2- private realms (women’s worlds, specific stories and experiences that had led the women to head their families such as divorce, widowhood, abandonment or the imprisonment of the head of the family). The details of everyday life showed how the sub-categories and their female heads had a similar experience in some aspects of the public realm but they experienced quite different private realms. The study concludes with some important strategic, public and specialized recommendations aimed at improving and reforming the current welfare system and social policies and suggests integrated social policies to eradicate poverty in general and among FHHs in particular.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Saudi Arabia; social policy; female poverty; female-headed households (FHHs); poverty
Subjects:H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Departments, Research Centres and Related Units:Academic Faculties, Institutes and Research Centres > Faculty of Social and Environmental Studies > School of Sociology and Social Policy
Status:Unpublished
ID Code:7033
Deposited On:04 Sep 2012 11:36
Last Modified:04 Sep 2012 11:36

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