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Saudi Women Allowed Into Stadiums for First Time

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Rabat – For the first time in the history of Saudi Arabia, Saudi women will be allowed to enter a stadium, in order to attend the Saudi National Day celebrations on September 23 at King Fahd Stadium.

Families and married couple will be able to watch the celebrations of the kingdom’s 87th National Day in a special section of the stadium, while men coming alone will be seated in another section, the official Saudi press agency SPA announced Wednesday.

“The stadium is ready to accommodate about 40,000 people divided between a men’s section and a section for families,” said the General Entertainment Authority, in a statement to SPA.

Up until the announcement, women in Saudi Arabia were not admitted to stadiums due to rules enforcing gender separation in public spaces.

Saudi Arabian law places many restrictions on women, and the Gulf country is the only in the world where women are denied the right to drive. Saudi women who wish to study or travel are subject to the guardianship of male members of their families, usually the father, husband, or brother.

The kingdom, however seems to have eased some of these restrictions as part of its “Vision 2030” plan for economic and social reforms, as it has begun enabling women to carry out certain administrative procedures on their own.

In July, human rights activists welcomed a decision by the Saudi Ministry of Education to allow girls to play sports in public schools.

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