The Saudi Arabia government has decreed that women will finally be allowed into sports stadiums, as long as they are in a family unit led by a male relative.
In a landmark move that would open up the previously male-only venues to families, the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam have been chosen to test the controversial plan beginning in 2018.
The kingdom, which has some of the world’s tightest restrictions on women, has long barred women from sports arenas by strict rules on segregation of the sexes in public. Last month a test event was held to see if women and men could co-exist in a sports environment when hundreds of women thronged a sports stadium for the first time to mark Saudi Arabia’s national day.
Now the move is to be made permanent.
“Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018,” the General Sports Authority said on Twitter.
The move to allow Saudi women a more prominent, open role in society follows last month’s announcement that the king of Saudi Arabia would lift a ban on women driving and that women will be able to operate vehicles starting in June of 2018.
All such social change has largely been attributed to the rise of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He has pushed forth changes that could usher in a new era that could swing the kingdom away from decades of ultraconservative dogma and restrictions.
He’s introduced musical concerts and movies again and is seen as the force behind a host of other changes, as Breitbart Jerusalem has reported.
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