Saudi Arabia will this week open up various sports stadia to women for the first time in a move that marks the Arab nation’s latest effort to ease restrictions on females in the country.
In a statement published by the Arabnews.com website, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Information confirmed that women will be permitted to attend the Al-Ahli vs. Al-Batin football match at the stadium in the capital of Riyadh on Friday.
Women will also be allowed to enter a stadium in Jeddah on Saturday to watch a second football match, as well as another game at a venue in Dammam later this month.
Saudi Arabia’s General Sport Authority first announced plans to open up stadia to women in October of last year, shortly after hundreds of women were permitted to enter a sports stadium in Riyadh for a special, one-off event to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s national day in the previous month.
The current guardianship system in Saudi Arabia states that the male family member – usually the father husband, or brother – has to give their permission for a woman to study, travel and take part in other activities.
However, the country’s ‘Vision 2030’ plan includes a series of reforms for a post-oil era, including a focus on greater gender equality. As an example of this focus, Saudi Arabia recently lifted a ban on women driving in the country.