Saudi Women Watch Soccer Games – At Last

Saudi Arabia will allow women to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a match, as the ultra-conservative kingdom eases strict decades-old rules separating the sexes.
Female Saudi supporters of Al-Ahli queue at an entrance for families and women at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah on January 12, 2018, ahead of their teams football match against Al-Batin in the Saudi Pro League. (Photo: STRINGER / AFP / Getty Images)

Dozens of women attended soccer games in Saudi Arabia this weekend. It’s the first time they have been allowed to watch live football with men also in attendance.

The new arrangement also means new job opportunities as security checks at the grounds must be performed by women. Some of those watching games got into the spirit, painting team emblems on the faces of their children, who do not need to wear the hijab.

It’s the latest in a series of measures launched in 2017 to give women greater participation in public life in a society dominated by men under Islamist codes.

In another change, the Saudi Education Ministry announced women could enter colleges with a cellphone and even make calls and surf the net. The decision, which was announced in October 2017, affects all university and higher education colleges. Any woman caught doing anything “inappropriate” with their phone faces punishment.



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