Ikhtilat as Patriarchal Expression: Gender Segregation and the Influence of Fathers
Dr. Jawaher Alwedinani

Ikhtilat is prohibited in Saudi Arabia according to the state religious institutions. Therefore, most of the institutions in Saudi Arabia are gender segregated. However, there are places where Saudi males and females can mingle, such as hospitals, some private companies and King Abdullah University. Saudi schools and universities are gender segregated, but medical schools are co-educational. This chapter shows how Ikhtilat plays a critical role in influencing both women’s and fathers’ attitudes towards certain subjects. There are few subjects available to Saudi women that require Ikhtilat, such as medicine, nursing and media studies. Some women wanted to study subjects like medicine or media studies but their fathers prevented them because of Ikhtilat. Other women are studying these subjects since their fathers are open to Ikhtilat. However, there are women who impose restrictions on their studies by limiting their subject choices because of Ikhtilat. However, there is a disagreement amongst the participants whether the prohibition of Ikhtilat is rooted in Islam or social traditions. Participants from traditional families believe that Ikhtilat is forbidden in Islam, whilst other participants see the prohibition of Ikhtilat as part of social traditions.

Full Text: PDF      DOI: 10.15640/ijgws.v5n1a2