Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Share

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Female football fans entered a stadium in Saudi Arabia's western city of Jeddah on Friday, becoming the first women to attend a football match in the conservative kingdom. The decision to allow women to attend soccer games â€' albeit in "family sections" that keep them separate from the all-male sections â€' is part of these efforts.

It follows a series of reforms meant to modernise the country.

Construction teams had scrambled to build female toilets and line off a women-only parking lot ahead of the game.

A Saudi private company on Thursday opened the first vehicle showroom for women only just five months before a decision allowing females to drive takes effect.

Women at the auto showroom milled around inspecting vehicles that they will be allowed to take out on the road when the ban ends.

"More than just an incremental step toward greater rights, the presence of women in the sports stadium underscored a wider effort to integrate women in society and grant them more public visibility", wrote ABC News.

"This event proves that we are heading for a prosperous future".

Ruwayda Ali Qassem, another Jeddah resident, said it was a "historic day in the kingdom which culminates (in) ongoing fundamental changes".

The Saudi official also pointed out that a few of those being held on corruption charges are still refusing to reconcile with the government.

Some clubs are offering special abayas - traditional head-to-toe robes for Saudi women - in team colours.

Saudi Arabia's royal family and religious establishment adhere to an austere form of Sunni Islam known as Wahhabism, and Islamic codes of behaviour and dress are strictly enforced.

At least 1,200 tickets have been bought by women and families for Friday's game, Saudi newspaper Okaz reported, citing a sales official.

In September, Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz announced that women would be allowed to drive starting from June, a move that ended a long ban.

Share

Advertisement

© 2015 Leader Call. All Rights reserved.