It’s about time! School girls in Saudi Arabia can now participate in organized sports without breaking any laws.
The Saudi government announced it this month: private girls’ schools are allowed to hold sport activities in accordance with the rules of Sharia law. The country’s officials had previously tolerated some physical education in a few of these schools, but there's been no set curriculum and no outright endorsement of the girls’ right to play - until now, that is.
And perhaps even better than an endorsement? The private girls’ schools are now guaranteed to have their own new sports equipment and athletics spaces!
A big step forward, no? Unfortunately, there are still lots of restrictions in store for these lil’ Mel C’s. They need to adhere to strict “decent dress” codes and close teacher supervision, and girls in the country's public schools will not be granted the same rights to play nor the new equipment. Some see this as the country’s latest step toward women’s liberation, while others see it as typical sexist schtick.
Sports fields have been doubling as Saudi women's rights battlegrounds for a while now. This school girl news comes almost a full year after Saudi Arabia sent its first-ever female competitors to the Olympics. Wojdan Shaherkani and Sarah Attar, the Saudi Olympians, performed with dignity while facing terrible harassment and downright disrespect from their own country's people. Just for being their sporty, fierce, and fearless selves!
It's a slow and difficult process, but these victories remind us that real change is happening, right now. These girls have the chance to kick sexism where it counts – right between the goalposts.
Source: The Guardian
Photo via The Telegraph.UK.