Saudi Women Allowed Into Sports Stadium For First Time
In what can be considered a historic decision, Saudi Arabia allowed its women into the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh for the first time, on the occasion of the 87th anniversary of its founding.
Reports stated that the women were allowed into the previously male-only venue — mostly used for football matches — with their families to watch a musical show and a play on Saudi history.
“It is the first time I have come to the stadium and I feel like more of a Saudi citizen. Now I can go everywhere in my country,” 25-year-old Sultana told Reuters. “God willing, tomorrow women will be permitted bigger and better things like driving and travel.”
Saudi women sit in a stadium for the first time to attend an event in the capital Riyadh on Sept. 23, 2017, commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the kingdom. The presence of women at the King Fahd stadium marks a departure from previous celebrations in the Gulf kingdom where they are effectively barred from sports arenas by strict rules on public segregation of the sexes. Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
A Saudi woman arrives at the stadium to attend an event commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the kingdom. Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty ImagesSaudi women carry national flags as they arrive outside a stadium for the first time.Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty ImagesA Saudi woman flashes the victory gesture while wearing a colored wig above her head-dress, as she arrives outside the stadium.Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty ImagesA Saudi woman flashes the victory gesture next to a girl carrying the national flag, as they sit with other families in a stadium to attend an event in the capital Riyadh on Sept. 23, 2017, commemorating the anniversary of the founding of the kingdom.Photo: FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP/Getty Images
Reuters reported that the events were sponsored by the government as part of the Vision 2030 reform program launched two years ago to move the Saudi economy away from oil, create new sectors to employ young citizens and open up Saudis’ cloistered lifestyles.
The country which adheres to the austere Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam bans gender mixing, concerts and cinemas. In the conservative country, the plan, whose goals include empowering women, promoting sports and investing in entertainment,…