Latest News

Back to Latest News back

 

Majority of Saudis favour women’s right to sports

November 19, 2013

A vast majority of Saudis favour women having the right to fully engage in sport, according to a Saudi Arabian sociology researcher.

In a country that has no official facilities for female athletes or physical education programs for girls in schools, Mariam Dujain Al-Kaabi has put forward a series of recommendations for womens sport and activity programs to the Saudi Government.

Her recommendations coincide with the Saudi Government's development of its first ever national sports plan - albeit for men only.

As part of her master thesis, Al-Kaabi surveyed 312 Saudis active in education with an even split between men and women. She found that 73.5% of her respondents unambiguously endorsed a woman's right to engage in sport while 21.6% felt that their right should be conditional.

Published by Ash-Sharq newspaper, the study countered conservative opposition in the Kingdom that asserts that allowing women to engage in sports would have negative social consequences.

Al Kaabi's study was published as the Kingdom debates granting women the right to engage in sport, attend sporting events in stadia, enjoy physical education in state-run schools and, on a non-sporting issue, be allowed to drive.

While many members of the ruling elite, including King Abdullah, are believed to favour granting women greater rights, the Government has so far shied away from confronting conservative clerics who condemn women's sports as corrupting and satanic and charge that it would spread decadence. The clerics warn that running and jumping could damage a woman's hymen and ruin her chances of getting married.

Saudi Sheikh Saleh bin Saad al-Luhaydan cautioned in September as women launched an online campaign to demand their right to drive that driving could affect their ovaries and pelvises. Sheikh Al-Luhaydan, a legal and psychology consultant to the Gulf Psychological Association, quickly became the target of ridicule on social media with Saudis sarcastically congratulating him for his scientific discovery.

An Arabic Twitter hashtag 'Women_driving_affects_ovaries_and_pelvises' went viral.

The Saudi Government is hesitant to confront conservative elements of the clergy at a time that it is trying to protect the Kingdom against the wave of discontent and protest that has been sweeping the Middle East and North Africa for almost three years.

While Saudi Arabia, a country where demonstrations are constitutionally banned, has not witnessed mass protests, it has experienced multiple expressions of demands for change, including protests in the predominantly Shiite Eastern Province, home to its oil reserves; demonstrations in the arch conservative town of Buraidah, a bulwark of Saudis puritan Wahhabi interpretation of Islam, demanding the release of political prisoners; protests against princes who own football clubs in stadia and online; a women's campaign for the right to drive; and an outpouring of criticism of the ruling family on social media.

Human Rights Watch last year accused Saudi Arabia of kowtowing to assertions by the country's powerful conservative Muslim clerics that female sports constitute "steps of the devil".

Saudi Football Federation (SFF) President Ahmed Eid Alharbi, a former goalkeeper who became the Kingdom's first elected sports official after his predecessor, a member of the ruling family, was forced under fan pressure to step down, hinted in September at the positive economic impact of allowing women to attend soccer matches would have.

He said that the creation of facilities for women would increase capacity at stadiums by 15%.

Alharbi later qualified his remarks by saying that the decision to lift the ban on women was not his, stating "a decision like this is a sovereign decision.

"Neither I nor SAFF can make it. Only the political leadership in this country can make that decision."

The Government has b


http://mideastsoccer.blogspot.com.au/

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

Clubware

Clubware’s online gym software is not your run of the mill management system. It has been carefully designed to incorporate all the elements that a fitness club would need. How did we do that?…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Recreation

 
 

Jonas Leisure

JonasLeisure offers a complete range of leading leisure and recreation software brands – envibe, Centaman, Gladstone Health & Leisure, The Retention People, Nutrition Complete and…

read more

Aquatics / Billing / Fitness / Recreation / Sport

 
 

Endeavour Turf Professionals Pty Ltd

ETP Turf is a leading Australian specialty agronomic turf consultancy that supply a wide range of services and solutions for the professional turf market, Councils and sporting facilities. Our range…

read more

Consultants / Environment / Golf / Recreation / Sport

 
 

Sportybots

We are the leading providers of kids fun multi-sports programs for Sport and Recreation Centres. Programs cover twelve common sports as well as Gross Motor Skill Development and suit children from as…

read more

Fitness / Play / Recreation / Sport / Wellness

 
 

Aquaspin

AQUASPIN™ - Aqua Cycling Aquaspin™’s sessions have been specially designed by our Master Trainer to be challenging yet fun group cycling sessions. Each session is tailored to…

read more

Aquatics / Fitness / Recreation / Wellness

 
 

CENTAMAN

Centaman has been a market leader in Enterprise Software Solutions for the leisure and recreation industry and both profit and not-for-profit attractions since 1991. It offers a wide range of software…

read more

Access / Billing / Fitness / Technology / Ticketing

 
 

LEISURE CONCEPTS AUSTRALIA

Leisure Concepts brings the world’s leading fitness equipment brands to Australasia - these include True Fitness, Atlantis Strength, Merrithew (Stott Pilates), Intenza Fitness,…

read more

Fitness / Recreation / Technology / Wellness

 
 

Hydrocare Pool Services

Hydrocare Pool Services Pty Ltd offer 30 years of experience in aquatic industry features, products and water treatment. Hydrocare Pools has undertaken water treatment for aquatic centres and…

read more

Aquatics / Attractions / Play / Recreation / Technology

 
 
 
 

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