Sample Research Proposal Paper on The Role of Digital Media on Saudi Women

Saudi women have been subjected to various forms of discrimination in their country for many years. For example, they had been excluded from national development projects and processes such, decision-making, which pushed them to engage in online feminist activism t advocate for their inclusion. Indeed, social media has pushed the government to resolve some of the challenges that women in Saudi Arabia face. Today, Saudi women hold administrative roles in various sectors including private and public sectors. Despite having the opportunity to hold administrative roles in various sectors, Saudi women have constantly faced challenges in those roles due to organizational, personal, and cultural structures that are in place. The purpose of this study will be to explore how social media can be used to address various challenges that Saudi women experience in their administrative roles in both the public and private sectors.

Literature Review

There is sufficient evidence that demonstrates that Saudi women are not involved in administrative roles, especially on national development projects. For example, the BBC reported that in the early 21st century, Saudi women did not have representatives in the political sector (Abdelhadi). The report revealed that Saudi women were also not represented in other essential fields, such as education, public, and private sectors. Moreover, the report compares the discrimination that Saudi women were experiencing in their country with those women from neighboring Arab countries faced. It found that women in the neighboring countries were at least represented in various fields such as the political sector, however, in Saudi Arabia, women were denied opportunities to hold administrative roles and engage in political activities.

Social media has played an essential role in the empowerment of Saudi women over the past few years. Although women in Saudi Arabia experienced various challenges in the early times, their empowerment began in 2011, when the country experienced societal and political transformations. For instance, since then, the Saudi youth and women have been able to shatter discriminations that, for a long time had targeted them and affected their participation in the country’s development project. Altuwayjiri argues that the transformations that the country experienced can be attributed to social media, which played a crucial role in empowering Saudi youth and women (150). Throughout 2011, social media usage continued to grow significantly across Saudi Arabia, and it was coupled with major shifts in usage trends. The platform evolved from being merely a tool for social networking and entertainment to the one used to address serious social issues women faced, such as lack of political and civic engagement (Altuwayjiri 150). Social media attracted a large mass of Saudi’s population to talk about women empowerment, which pressured the government to develop more transparent, participatory, and inclusive government models. Thus, women became involved in the country’s development projects. Saudi women are still being empowered, and social media plays a major role in that. Some of the social media sites that have been playing a crucial role in fueling women’s empowerment in the country include Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp.

Numerous studies have examined the role of media related to the empowerment of Saudi women. Al-Ahmadi argues that social media has empowered women by increasing their enrollment in all levels of education and various fields of employment and aspects of life within Saudi Arabia (150). Per the study, since Saudi Arabia experienced significant growth in social media usage, the participation of women in senior management positions and national development projects has grown. However, the author notes that despite the considerable changes that have seen women engage in administrative roles across the country, they tend to experience various problems compared to their male counterparts due to organizational, personal, and cultural challenges that impede their effectiveness as leaders (158). The study attempts to address how social media can play an essential role in addressing the challenges that women experience in various leadership roles.

A study by Odine also explores the role of social media in the empowerment of Saudi Women. The author argues that Saudi women have for a long time been denied the opportunity to engage in civic and political actions across the country, and press freedom, whereby they were unable to receive information, let alone analytic and interpretative functionalism of mass media (10). During that time, women were also not allowed to engage in national development projects. Therefore, women decided to exploit unconventional media to combat discrimination and inequality, which had been embedded in their society. They decided to explore social media, and with the emergence of social media sites, they got a better platform to channel the issues they faced in Saudi Arabia (Odine 12). Through the use of social media, women made significant steps in combat discrimination and inequality across the country, and they had the opportunity to engage in educational activities, political, and civic roles.

A study by Newsom and Lengel explores the challenges Saudi women faced in the past centuries, including discrimination. Therefore, they decided to engage in feminist activisms in social media to address various issues they faced across the country. Online feminist activisms led to the government adopting participatory and inclusive models to address the challenges Saudi women were experiencing within society (Newsom and Lengel 34). Those models allowed women to assume a leadership role in the various sectors, including the public and private sectors. Nevertheless, Al-Talhi and Maarop argue that although social media has largely empowered women to engage in political and civic activities, it has not been pivotal in addressing issues that women face in other fields, such as entrepreneurship (154). Only a small percentage of women have ventured into the field of entrepreneurship due to stereotype threat that they are unable to run or operate businesses. Therefore, social media can be used to support women to venture into various fields that they have been discriminated against.

While several studies the role of social media in allowing women to assume various administrative roles in the public and private sectors, many have failed to recognize that although Saudi women have assumed leadership roles in all sectors, they still experience gender-based problems within those roles due to organizational, cultural, and personal challenges.  As such, the purpose of this study will be to explore how social media, especially sites such as Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and WhatsApp, can be used to address various challenges that Saudi women experience in their administrative roles in both the public and private sectors. The main research questions will be, do Saudi women perceive social media as useful to addressing their needs? Can social media eliminate stereotype threats Saudi women encounter related to administrative roles? The study will hypothesize that Saudi women have a positive perception that social media can help address all their needs.

Methodology

Design

This study’s design will be a cross-sectional survey. Besides, the researcher will largely rely on the collection of primary data to test the study’s hypothesis. Primary data is that which is acquired from first-hand sources. The study will rely on an individual as a unit analysis, and that approach will allow the researcher to understand the relationship between social media and its role in empowering Saudi women to engage in political and civic actions, and assume administrative roles in various sectors of the country. Regarding that the study will be an online-survey, the researcher will adopt the use of surveylegend.com website to gather data. Before the survey, the participants will be provided with emails and recruitment letters that will inform them of the purpose of the research, the researcher’s name and addresses, and the potential benefits and risks such as psychological impacts associated with the study. The researcher will also use incentive programs such as giving out free lunch vouchers to motivate the participants to engage in the study.

Participants who will have responded to the emails and recruitment will then be provided with the surveylegend.com link that will allow them to engage in the study. Once they click the link, they will be provided with two options; accept or decline, which will allow them to either join or withdraw from the study. Those who will have joined the study will then proceed to the survey questionnaire part, where they will be presented with various questions, including open-ended and closed-ended questions. One of the questions that will be outlined in the survey questionnaire tool will include do you think social media play a crucial role in addressing your needs as a woman? The participants will be required to respond to that question using their own words. Another question will be, do you think that social media can help to eliminate stereotype threats women experience in various institutions in both the public and private sectors? The study participants will be required to respond to that with a yes or a no.

The research will aim to achieve an 85 percent response rate. However, it will achieve a higher response rate if the required number of participants all take part in the study. The research will be conducted through a particular time frame, which will be two months. The first one week will be to acquire study’s approval from the University’s institutional review board (IRB); two-weeks will be for selection and recruitment of participants; one-month will be for the online survey; then one-week will be for data analysis and presentation of the study to the relevant faculty.

Sample

The study will concentrate on Saudi women, and it will include 180 participants who will represent the larger population of women across the country. The researcher will adopt the probability sampling technique to select and recruit the participants, and the activity will be done on the inclusion and exclusion criteria. The criteria will be based on factors such as that a participant must be a Saudi woman and is currently in an administrative role in any institution across the country, and age (25 years and above). Essentially, the objective of focusing on women who are currently in the administrative role is to enable the researcher to identify some of the challenges that they experience in those roles and identify how social media can help to address such issues. Selection will be made through emails and recruitments. Therefore, the researcher will inform the participants how their email addresses and workplace addresses might have been found, and what will be the importance of them participating in the study.

Materials

The study will adopt the use of two variables, including independent and dependent variables. The independent variable will be social media, and the dependent one will be the role of social media in empowering Saudi women. The study will also adopt the use of the surveylegend.com website, considering that it will be conducted online. Besides, the study will integrate the use of a 30-item survey questionnaire tool to come up with answers related to the research question and support the hypothesis. The researcher will also use Microsoft Excel to organize data for analysis.

Procedure

The researcher will send emails and recruitment letters to 250 Saudi women who hold administrative roles in various institutions across the country. The emails and recruitment letters will entail information related to the study’s purpose. Individuals who will have responded to the emails and letters will be provided with a link where the study will take place. Upon clicking the link, the participants will be given two options including accept and decline. Accept option will allow them to join the study while the decline option will allow the participants to withdraw from the study. Those who will have joined will be required to respond to various questions that will be outlined in the survey tool. After responding to the questions, they will be asked to click a button below the survey questionnaire tool to submit their feedback to the researcher. The researcher will then proceed to analyze the data.

Analysis

The study will be quantitative. Thus, the researcher will use Microsoft excel, descriptive statistics, and independent t-test to analyze the collected data. The researcher will use Microsoft Excel to organize the data in a format that will allow for easy analysis and descriptive statistics to briefly summarize the features of the same, including age. The type of descriptive statistics that will be used include mean, median, and range to analyze the gathered data. The researcher will present the results in pie charts for an easy understanding of the study. The researcher will also use an independent t-test to establish the relationship between the dependent variable and the independent variable. The t-test will also be used to test the effectiveness of the hypothesis.

Results and Discussion

The possible result is that social media plays a key role in empowering Saudi women. However, it does not address some of the issues such as stereotypic threats they women experience in various fields. Many of the study’s participants will acknowledge that social media has enabled them to assume leadership roles in various sectors across the country and has offered them an opportunity for political and civic engagement. However, they will outline that social media has failed to address some of the challenges, especially stereotypic threats that Saudi women experience while holding various administrative roles. The challenges will be due to them being part of minority groups in Saudi society. The study will establish what challenges Saudi women experience while assuming leadership roles and what role social media play in addressing the various issues women experience in administrative roles.

Limitation

The study will involve a large sample size, and response to the questions presented in the survey questionnaire tool will depend on a participant’s honesty. Therefore, a possible limitation of this study will be its bias of findings.

 

Works Cited

Abdelhadi, Magdi. “Middle East | Bahraini Woman Chairs Parliament.” BBC News, 19 Apr. 2005, news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4462051.stm

Al-Ahmadi, Hanan. “Challenges facing women leaders in Saudi Arabia.” Human Resource Development International 14.2 (2011): 149-166.https://doi.org/10.1080/13678868.2011.558311

Al-Talhi, M., and N. Maarop. “Understanding Social Media Usage by Females in Saudi Arabia: A Descriptive Finding.” Journal of Fundamental and Applied Sciences 10.2S (2018): 151-161., https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jfas/article/view/171361

Altuwayjiri, Norah. “Political Tweeting: The Impact of Social Media on the Political Awareness of Saudi Women.” Arab Women and the Media in Changing Landscapes, 2017, pp. 149–165. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62794-6_9.

Newsom, Victoria A., and Lara Lengel. “Arab Women, Social Media, and the Arab Spring: Applying the Framework of Digital Reflexivity to Analyze Gender and Online Activism.” Journal of International Women’s Studies 13.5 (2012): 31-45, https://vc.bridgew.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://scholar.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1004&context=jiws

Odine, Maurice. “Role of Social Media in the Empowerment of Arab Women.” Global Media Journal 12.22 (2013): 1-30, https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Maurice_Odine/publication/293322191_Role_of_social_media_in_the_empowerment_of_Arab_women/links/5812cf1c08ae29942f3e91df.pdf