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Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Saudi families cheer at the King Abdullah Sports City known as "a radiant jewel" to attend the Saudi Football League soccer match Al Ahly and Al-Batin in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Jan. 12, 2-18.

Saudi women were allowed to attend a soccer game between two local teams in Jeddah on Friday. However, they were forced to sit in a "family section" that separated them from the male fans.

The university student was among around 300 Saudi women who thronged Pearl stadium in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after the ultra-conservative kingdom eases decades-old rules separating the sexes.

Some women had been allowed to watch National Day festivities at the Riyadh stadium in September a year ago.

"Honestly, this decision should have happened a long time ago", said Ms Muneera al-Ghamdi, an attendee. All three stadiums were previously male-only, CNN reported.

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The company is 69% male and 56% white, although Google does not report how many describe themselves as "conservative". Google did not immediately reply to a Law&Crime request for comment.

Ruwayda Ali Qassem, another Jeddah resident, called Friday a "historic day in the kingdom which culminates (in) ongoing fundamental changes".

"I am proud and extremely happy for this development and for the kingdom's moves to catch up with civilised measures adopted by many countries", she said. "But thank God that it came at the right time, and hopefully what's to come will be even more lovely for women".

Saudi Arabia has been seeing a miraculous change over the last few months. Many women excited about the new ability to watch live games - as well as men opposed to this - took to social media on Friday, writing under the Arabic hashtags #FamiliesEnteringStadiums and #ThePeopleWelcomeWomenEnteringStadiums.

The government's General Sports Authority said this week that three stadiums had so far been modified to accommodate women through the addition of private sections for women and their male relatives, female bathrooms, and even prayer areas. People shared photographs of female fans preparing to enter the stadium.

"It's really exciting to be watching a match in Saudi Arabia and to be the first match that woman are allowed".

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