Saudi women may now go to sta­di­ums

The Herald (South Africa) - - NEWS -

SAUDI Ara­bia will for the first time al­low women to at­tend sports events, pre­par­ing spe­cial sec­tions in three se­lected sta­di­ums from early next year in an­other step to­ward open­ing pub­lic spa­ces to women.

The sta­di­ums in Jed­dah, Dam­mam and Riyadh will be set up to ac­com­mo­date fam­i­lies from early next year, a state­ment from the Gen­eral Sports Author­ity said on Sun­day.

Last month, Saudi Ara­bia an­nounced that, from June, women would be al­lowed to drive cars, end­ing the world’s only ban on fe­male driv­ing.

An eco­nomic and so­cial re­form pro­gramme led by Crown Prince Mo­hammed bin Sal­man aims to open up clois­tered life­styles, shaped in part by a strict, con­ser­va­tive ver­sion of Sunni Is­lam that lim­its the role of women.

Prince Mo­hammed also seeks to di­ver­sify the econ­omy away from oil as part of his pro­posed re­forms.

The crown prince will be the first Saudi leader since 1953 to hail from a new gen­er­a­tion when he in­her­its the throne.

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