In a first, women in Saudi Arabia attend a soccer match

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Females were in attendance at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah to witness Al-Ahli defeat Al-Batin 5-0.

The notorious driving ban on women was lifted in September 2017, and this week Saudi Arabia will host its first ever women's squash tournament.

The Kingdom's General Sports Authority announced in October that stadiums in Jeddah, Dammam, and Riyadh will be set up to accommodate families starting in 2018.

At the stadium in Jeddah, female ushers were employed to greet the women fans and their families, who loudly cheered on the local team.

But even segregated as they were, their presence in the stadium marked a significant moment for the Kingdom.

Local media said women would also have their own designated smoking areas.

An Arabic hashtag on Twitter about women entering stadiums garnered tens of thousands of tweets on Friday, with some using the hashtag to share photos of female spectators wearing their team's colours in scarves thrown over their black abayas.

Saudi women attend sports event for first time
Saudi Women Attend, Cheer at Live Soccer Match for the First Time

A Saudi woman tours a auto showroom for women in Jeddah, on Friday.

"I came with my father and my brother - we're fans of Al-Ahli", said university student Areej al-Ghamdi, adding that she had always cheered the club from home."This is the first time we'll be cheering for real, not just in front of the television", she told the Agence France-Presse.

While many supported and welcomed the decision to allow women into stadiums, others spoke out against it.

Apply for passports Travel overseas Get married Open a bank account Start certain businesses Get elective surgery Leave prison The recent reforms are part of a gradual process of modernisation under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is attempting to make the Kingdom more moderate.

However, strict guardianship laws are still in place, which forbid women from marrying without a male relative's content, traveling overseas and securing a passport.

The Saudi Ministry of Information confirmed last week that authorities had scheduled three professional league games in three different stadiums where women could observe live from stadiums in January.

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