Girls Now Allowed to Play School Sport in Saudi Arabia
Students must adhere to 'decent' dress code and Shariah law
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 5, 2013 4:37 PM CDT
Mawada Chaballout, a 27-year-old American member of a Saudi female soccer team practices at a secret location in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.   (Hassan Ammar)

(Newser) – Saudi Arabian girls will be allowed to play sports in private schools for the first time, according to a decision announced yesterday, the latest in a series of incremental changes aimed at slowly increasing women's rights in the ultraconservative kingdom. Saudi Arabia's official press agency, SPA, reported that private girls' schools are now allowed to hold sports activities in accordance with the rules of Shariah, or Islamic law. Students must adhere to "decent dress" codes and Saudi women teachers will be given priority in supervising the activities, according to the Education Ministry's requirements.

The decision makes sports once again a stage for the push to improve women's rights, nearly a year after two Saudi female athletes made an unprecedented appearance at the Olympics. "It's about time," said Aziza Youssef, a professor at King Saud University. "Everything is being held back in Saudi Arabia as far as women's rights." The government had previously quietly tolerated physical education in some private schools, but there is no set curriculum.

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 18 comments
kawahchan
May 6, 2013 11:49 AM CDT
(R) 2014 & 2016 Gov. RICK PERRY Report: Attention : Saudi Arabian girls, Texas A&M University-Commerce will offer Scholarship to recruit and draft those very good women Soccer players who can maintain 3.xx GPA. If you plan to graduate from high-school in Saudi Arabian (and Iraqi Kurds, Iran as well) to study in Texas A&M University-Commerce, please do not hesitate to ask for woman Soccer scholarship. Texas A&M University system is Academic Freedom institute.
kati
May 6, 2013 7:33 AM CDT
How very sad that these women are not even allowed to breath properly and dress in comfy cloth. Religion, wth!
Ucantusethatname
May 6, 2013 4:36 AM CDT
I can hardly wait: To see girls in burkas playing basketball, golf, and sand volleyball.