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  • Saudi Arabia women attended a rally to celebrate the 87th annual National Day of Saudi Arabia in September. It has been announced that women will be allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in the future.

    Saudi Arabia women attended a rally to celebrate the 87th annual National Day of Saudi Arabia in September. It has been announced that women will be allowed to attend sports events in stadiums in the future. | Photo: Reuters

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ranked 141 out of 144 countries on gender parity on the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report.

Saudi Arabia will open its stadiums to women for the first time to attend football matches on Friday, the government has announced. 

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The first match will be held in the capital city of Riyadh, the second in Jeddah on the Red Sea and the third in the eastern city of Dammam, AFP reported. 

"The first match that women will be allowed to watch will be Al-Ahli versus Al-Batin on Friday, January 12," the Ministry of Information said in a statement on Monday. The women will be allowed to watch another match the following day, along with the third match on Jan. 18. 

The decision is part of the young crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, a program designed to socially reform the country.

It's worth noting that Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is ranked 141 out of 144 countries on gender parity on the 2016 Global Gender Gap Report by the World Economic Forum. The Middle Eastern country has long been criticized for its ultra-conservative laws on women's rights.

In September, hundreds of women gathered in the capital, Riyadh's football stadium for the first time, to mark country's national day. 


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