Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

First ever admission of women to Saudi Arabian sport stadium

First ever admission of women to Saudi Arabian sport stadium
September 28, 2017

King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia welcomed women through its gates for the first time in its history to celebrate the Arabian Gulf nation’s 87th anniversary.

The Kingdom’s strict implementation of Sharia law from the Wahhabi brand of Sunni Islam bans gender mixing in locations such as stadiums and cinemas.

However, the national day, part of the Saudi Government’s Vision 2030 initiatives to expand its economy and move away from oil by creating new employment sectors for young Saudis, saw the ban lifted - albeit temporarily.

While women remain banned from entering venues to watch sporting events, the move is seen as significant in the Kingdom allowing greater freedoms for women and comes six weeks after Saudi Arabia announced that physical education for girls would for the first time be included in school curricula.

To accommodate the Kingdom’s strict gender segregation, sections of the Stadium were delineated into sections for men and for families, much like what happens in other public spaces.

Commenting on the admission of women to a sporting venue, regular Australasian Leisure Management contributor Dr James M. Dorsey writes “the move knocks down a psychological barrier even if it is primarily designed to project the Kingdom in a more favourable light amid fierce criticism of its human rights record and conduct of the war in Yemen and to promote Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reform agenda of greater economic diversification and greater social freedom.

“To maintain support for his agenda, which is as much designed to initiate badly needed economic and social change as it is intended to prevent any form of political liberalisation, Prince Mohammed has in recent weeks employed two strategies: using football to boost his image in a football-crazy country, and building an entertainment industry in a kingdom in which concepts of fun were long frowned upon, if not banned.

“Sport is a key pillar of 'Vision 2030' as part of a bid to improve health in a country that has some of the world’s highest obesity and diabetes rates.”

As part of national day events, being held in 17 cities over four days and attracting more than 1.5 million Saudis, a concert in the Red Sea city of Jeddah featured 11 Arab musicians, plus fireworks, air acrobatics and traditional folk dance shows.

Under Saudi laws, women are not allowed to drive, despite some Government reform attempts aimed at boosting female employment. In addition, women are unable to travel, study or visit a doctor without a male guardian’s permission.

Dr. James M. Dorsey is a senior fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, co-director of the University of Würzburg’s Institute for Fan Culture, and the author of The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer Blog, a book with the same title.

14th August 2017 - HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP WELCOMES SAUDI ARABIAN REFORM ON SCHOOL SPORT FOR GIRLS

17th March 2017 - FITNESS FIRST MIDDLE EAST TO OPEN WOMEN-ONLY GYMS IN SAUDI ARABIA

9th March 2017 - NIKE LAUNCHES HIGH-PERFORMANCE SPORTS HIJAB FOR MUSLIM ATHLETES

23rd February 2017 - ASIAN FITNESS CLUB MERGER SEES CREATION OF EVOLUTION WELLNESS 

15th February 2017 - SAUDI ARABIA TO START GRANTING LICENCES FOR FEMALE GYM OPERATIONS 

25th January 2015 - AFC OFFICIAL ‘HAPPY’ TO BAR WOMEN SPECTATORS FROM STADIA 

15th October 2014 - WOMEN’S SPORTING RIGHTS PUT SAUDI ARABIA AND IRAN ON THE DEFENSIVE 

7th July 2014 - SAUDI ARABIA ANNOUNCES PLANS TO BUILD 11 STADIA

19th November 2013 - MAJORITY OF SAUDIS FAVOUR WOMEN’S RIGHT TO SPORTS


Asking a small favour
We hope that you value the news that we publish so while you're here can we ask for your support?

The news we publish at www.ausleisure.com.au is independent, credible (we hope) and free for you to access, with no pay walls and no annoying pop-up ads.

However, as an independent publisher, can we ask for you to support us by subscribing to the printed Australasian Leisure Management magazine - if you don't already do so.

Published bi-monthly since 1997, the printed Australasian Leisure Management differs from this website in that it publishes longer, in-depth and analytical features covering aquatics, attractions, entertainment, events, fitness, parks, recreation, sport, tourism and venues management.

Subscriptions cost just $90 a year.

Click here to subscribe.

 

supplier directory

The Complete Guide to Leisure Industry Products & Services.

See the directory see all

TECHNOGYM AUSTRALIA

Technogym is the leading company in the Wellness and Fitness field all over the world. With 2,200 employees, 14 branches in Europe, U.S., South America, Asia  and Australia, Technogym exports its…

read more

Fitness / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Digonex

Digonex is a leading provider of customised dynamic pricing solutions to clients in arts and entertainment, sport, attractions, cultural institutions and retail sectors. Digonex’s technology is…

read more

Attractions / Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing

 
 

SeatGeek Asia Pacific

SeatGeek is a search engine and mobile-focused ticket marketplace that allows fans to buy and sell tickets for live events. As of August 2018, SeatGeek has exited the Australian, New…

read more

Entertainment / Sport / Technology / Ticketing / Venues

 
 
 

COMMERCIAL AQUATICS AUSTRALIA

Commercial Aquatics Australia provides aquatic solutions nationwide and is one of the largest and most experienced companies specialising in the design, construction, renovation, service, maintenance…

read more

Aquatics / Design / Play / Waterparks

 
 

Envibe

With its sleek good looks and easy-to-use yet powerful functionality, Envibe is the premium fitness club software for the Australasian leisure, recreation and fitness industry. We are the most…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Technology

 
 

Anti Wave International

Anti Wave International is the original suppliers of top performance swim, aquatic sports, leisure and pool programming equipment. Founded in 1971, Anti Wave International is proud of its…

read more

Aquatics / Play / Sport

 
 

Otium Planning Group

Otium Planning Group is a contemporary sport and leisure consultancy providing services in planning, facility development, management and funding for the sport, recreation and leisure industries…

read more

Aquatics / Consultants / Recreation / Sport / Venues

 
 
 
 

get listed with our suppliers directory

Get your business noticed in our targeted directory. Viewed by 10,000 industry professionals per week!

list your business