SAUDI ARABIA will allow women into sports stadiums as of next year, but only to sit in a “family section” separate from the male-only crowd.
Saudi officials use “families” as code for allowing women into public spaces. Many restaurants and cafes, which often have separate entrances for women, have similarly sex-segregated areas.
The country’s sports authority announced on Sunday that three stadiums — in the capital Riyadh, Jiddah and Dammam — will be altered to accommodate “families.”
With the blood-soaked monarchy apparently aware of its atrocious reputation, it has recently made minor concessions on women’s rights.
Next year women will be allowed to apply for driving licences, and drive without needing a male relative with them. Last month, women were allowed into the Riyadh stadium to celebrate the country’s national day.
Two years ago, a Saudi woman was arrested while attending a football game in Jiddah’s al-Jawhara stadium, which opened to the public in 2014.