Currently sporting events exclude women in Saudi Arabia from joining fans in male only venues. Saudi officials have announced that the new sports stadium due to be completed in Jeddah, in 2014, will admit women.
The much vaunted King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is due to open in 2014. Attention which previously focused on the magnificence of its planned facilities is now shifting to another first for the Kingdom's women, as a decision has been approved which allows them to be admitted into the stadium to watch sporting events.
When plans to build the $4 billion stadium were firstannouncedin 2009, it was planned as a sporting venue for men only. However a new policy to introduce the right for women to attend sporting events was initiated last year, as Emirates 247reported. As the Jeddha stadium is still in the construction stage it became the ideal first sporting building to implement the policy as special areas allocated for women can be incorporated into the design. Designs for the magnificent stadium can be seen here.
According to theSaudi Gazette officials have announced "the stadium will include a family section with private cabins and balconies for women who wish to attend the games." Female journalists will also be admitted into specially designated sections for women.
The decision marks another first for Saudi women, following the decision taken last year allowing them to vote. However the announcement that women will be able to attend sporting events was more likely influenced by Saudi's exclusion from hosting international sporting events because of the current policy of barring women, rather than concern over their lack of rights to attend.