Saudi Arabia’s National Day not only celebrates the country’s history but also marks new strides in women’s rights
26 September 2017| Last updated on 26 September 2017
History was made in more than one way on September 23rd. Not only did Saudi Arabia celebrate their 87th National Day but women were also celebrating a small step in women's rights in the Kingdom.
For the first time in Saudi's history women were allowed in a sport stadium.
Women flocked to King Fahd stadium on Saturday with their families to watch a play on Saudi history. The King Fahd stadium was previously a male-only venue for football matches but women were allowed access for Saudi’s National Day.
Women had to sit with their families, and away from single men but this is still a very big deal for most women in the country.
Um Abdulrahman, a woman from the north-western city of Tabuk, told AFP: “We hope in the future that there will be no restrictions on our entrance to the stadium. For many years ago I have hoped that women will be given the same rights as men.” Other women said that for the first time, they truly feel like a citizen in the country.
Saudi Arabia is known to be an ultra-conservative country with very few rights for women. Women have only recently been allowed to work, get a passport of their own and start riding bicycles. They are, however, still not allowed to drive a motor vehicle, need to ride a bicycle under the supervision of their guardian and lack many other basic rights which most women take for granted across the globe. The mixing of different genders is also not allowed in public in the Kingdom and women aren’t allowed to confer with men who aren’t related to them.
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Over recent years, the Kingdom has however started becoming more lenient towards women and it seems like women might get more privileges in the light of Vision 2030.