Riyadh, stadium doors open to Saudi women
The prince's gentle revolution continues. After permission to drive, women will now be able to attend sports events as well. In vigour from 2018 will include stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam. Restaurants, cafes and monitors will be set up in spaces reserved for men only.
Riyadh (AsiaNews / Agencies) – As of next year, Saudi women will - for the first time - be able to attend sporting events in some of the country's stadiums. An official announcement made today stated that "entire family groups" will be able to enter arenas and stadiums in three of the most important cities in the country: Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.
Analysts and experts point out that, following the recent permission to drive for women, this measure points to a greater openness for women; so far, women have suffered heavy gender restrictions, deprived of many basic rights and subject to male protection.
In recent days, Mohammed bin Salman, the main promoter of the reform path, renewed his commitment to making his country "moderate and open". The "revolution" also embraces Islam, according to a vision in which "our religion translates into tolerance" and rejects Wahhabism.
The plan announced by the 32-year-old prince and called "Vision 2030" envisions economic and social innovations to relieve the kingdom of oil dependence. 70% of the Saudi population is under 30 and calls for changes in pace with the times, even in the area of faith. To release Saudi society from the yoke of the religious, King Salman's son also has decided to invest enormous sums in the development of tourism and the entertainment industry.
Saudi Sports Leaders report that preparatory work will be three stages so that they are "ready to welcome families from the beginning of 2018." Inside the stadiums restaurants, cafes and monitors will be set up in the spaces that to date were for men only.
In spite of the recent announcements in the Wahhabi kingdom, hard limits remain on women's liberties: Saudis women must cover their hair and body in public, and cannot travel or receive medical care without the permission of a male guardian (usually a father, a husband or a son).