Will Saudi Arabia ever have a professional women’s football team?

Saudi Arabia has always been criticized by other nations for being backward about women rights, but as the time is progressing, things have started changing for the women in Saudi Arabia. Recently women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia which was a big step forward in terms of the rights of women, this step started opening other doors of opportunities to take other rights for women as well.

Over the past few years, more developments have taken place regarding this matter which includes, the women having the right to stand up as a candidate in the municipal elections. The government also amended the laws governing travel documents, which gave women the right to obtain a passport without male permission. [irp]

The amendment of these laws has been made to empower women by giving them the rights that they most certainly deserve. In Saudi Arabia, women have been kept in the shadows when it comes to sports.

But recently, Iqbal Dandari, a member of the Saudi Arabian committee for human rights at the Shoura Council is urging the authorities to allow professional women football in the country and to set up sports clubs for women.

The female Shoura Council urged the major Saudi football teams such as Al-Hilal, Al-Nassr, Al-Ittihad and Al-Ahli to set up women’s team. Furthermore, the council member also put forward the request to assign a day in which women could exercise at major sports clubs while maintaining modest and appropriate standards for women.

The council member stated that if women were allowed to enter stadiums during games in Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah, it would encourage them to participate towards sports. This would be a “landmark”, stated Dandari, in the step towards empowering women.

This idea of allowing women to play football is in context with the recent developments towards women rights. The Saudi women are not so behind in sports as we might think. The spirit of sports lives in them even if they are not allowed to play.

A great example of this is the participation of Saudi women in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics. In the 2012 London Olympics, 2 women participated whereas in the 2016 Rio Olympics four women participated following the footsteps of the previous.

Saudi Arabia’s Kariman Abduljadayel finishes 7th at the women’s 100m heat with 14.61 seconds which is a great achievement and encouragement for other women. In the near future, maybe we will witness the Saudi Arabian women football team competing in the Olympics.

Many steps have been taken for the rights of women in Saudi Arabia, the male guardianship system which is seen as a hindrance to women’s progress is also expected to be terminated soon according to a royal decree from King Salman.

In the light of these developments, the women have already made significant gains and Insha Allah they will proceed further. 

Source: Arab News