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In historic move, Saudi Arabian women will be allowed into sports stadiums

Fayez Nureldine | AFP

The change follows a September decree letting women drive

In the latest move to increase women’s freedom and participation in society, Saudi Arabia announced that starting in 2018 women would be allowed to attend events at the country’s sports stadiums, reported the BBC.

In September, for the first time ever, women were allowed entrance into King Fahd Stadium for a celebration commemorating the kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s 87th anniversary.

The kingdom continues to observe a strict form of Sunni Islam called Wahhabism. Islamic codes restrict women’s ability to marry, divorce, travel, undergo a medical procedure without the permission of a male relative, and mix with the opposite sex. There are signs, though, that this could change.

The 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, as part of his Visions 2030 project, has set as a goal increasing women’s participation in the workplace. According to a CNN report, since the project was announced last year, women have filled three top jobs in finance, including as head of the stock exchange.

In September, Saudi Arabia announced that it would allow women to drive, effective in June of 2018.

At an investment conference last week, Prince Mohammed told reporters that he hoped to “eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon” to bring about a return to “moderate Islam.”


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