Just days after Saudi Arabia celebrated its first-ever Women’s Day, more good news for Saudi women emerged. In a first, women in Saudi Arabia are now allowed to hit the gym.
The announcement made by Princess Reema bint Bandar, vice president for women's affairs, said that the women's gyms will be granted licenses by the end of February. Plans to open a female-only gym in every district of kingdom are also underway.
“It is not my role to convince the society, but my role is limited to opening the doors for our girls to live a healthy lifestyle away from diseases that result from obesity and lack of movement," she added.
La princesa Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud: Vamos a incentivar el deporte femenino— Arabia Watch (@arabiawa) February 6, 2017
facilitando la apertura de gyms con precios tentadores pic.twitter.com/Gi37fxjnf5
The decision of allowing women to attend the gym comes as obesity rates among Saudi women reaches alarming levels. After a long history of being at a standstill, female sports facilities will now be encouraged in the country.
Women will be permitted to individual activities like running, swimming and body building but competitive sports like tennis, soccer and volleyball still remain off-limits.
Saudi Arabia has made significant progress as far as women in sports is concerned. They were allowed to be part of London Olympics.
Recently, Saudi Arabia also marked its first-ever Women’s Day. It was a three-day affair, including talks and discussions that highlighted the achievements and contributions of Saudi women in different walks of life, especially education and sports, in spite of all the hindrances the patriarchal system creates for them.
However, Reema’s faces opposition by her critics. According to them, her efforts toward women’s liberation are little more than a flimsy dressing on a gaping wound.
Despite the opposition, she is focused on what she is doing. She also headed a women’s base camp to Mount Everest.
First group of saudi women to make it to the mount everest base camp ?? pic.twitter.com/IiXKRkFaNP— Fahd (@AnonFahd) May 20, 2013
Unfortunately, without the permission of a male guardian, women in Saudi Arabia are not permitted to marry, travel or open a bank account. That is not all: They are often unable to access healthcare without male consent.
Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia is now considering extracurricular activities for females, women’s rights in the kingdom are still dismal.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters