Women in Saudi Arabia attend football matches for first time

Women in Saudi Arabia attend football matches for first time

Women in Saudi Arabia attend football matches for first time

Saudi women watch the football match between Al-Ahli against Al-Batin at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

In September, Saudi King Salman bin Abdelaziz announced that women would be allowed to drive starting from June, a move that ended a long ban.

To prepare for the change, the kingdom has designated "family sections" in the stands for women.

In the stadium, keeping in mind the women spectators, a "family entrance" was created. "When you give women the chance to share attending game with men, this first of all reinforces allowing women to participate in matches, and secondly gives support to the team and the players, so that everyone, the whole community, shares the games with them", said Faisal bin Sibhan, an attendee.

Reema said the day marked a historic moment for the kingdom. "But thank god that it came at the right time, and hopefully what's to come is even more attractive for women", said Muneera al-Ghamdi, a resident of Jeddah city.

"A lot of people wanted to wait and see how it is. I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change", she said.

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While negotiating the overseas employment of the female workers, the government should be strict in ensuring that the women workers would receive fair wages and humane treatment and that their employers would be brought to book if they violated their employee's rights.

"As we speak; Saudi women fans are entering soccer stadiums!"

Some used the hashtag to write that women's place should be in the home, focusing on their children and preserving their faith, and not at a stadium where male crowds frequently curse and chant raucously.

Despite the breakthrough, there are still a host of basic human rights denied to women without the permission of a man, including applying for a passport, travelling overseas, and getting married.

The Saudi Ministry of Information confirmed last week that authorities had scheduled three professional league games in three different stadiums where women could observe live from stadiums in January.

In 2015, an Australian female supporter of Western Sydney Wanderers football club was permitted to attend a match at Riyadh's main stadium and a group of American women travelling with a US Congress delegation also watched a local club match there.

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