This past week, the Islamic Kingdom’s London Embassy announced that Saudi Arabia will allow women athletes to compete in the Olympics for the first time ever. This step is great news in the field of women’s rights, but it didn’t come from a smooth chain of events. Many human rights groups have been asking for the Olympic Committee to not allow Saudi Arabia to compete in the London Olympics unless they allowed women to compete.
Looking at the history and current situation of women in Saudi Arabia, this is truly a breakthrough. In the country, women are banned from driving and have to get permission from a man to work, travel or open a bank account. Many important Saudi clerics have spoken out against females participating in sports and the head of the kingdom’s Olympic mission, Khalid al-Dakheel, told Reuters that he was unaware that there were developments moving towards allowing women to participate.
Thankfully, King Abdullah has pushed for women to have better education and work opportunities. He has also allowed women to vote in future elections.
This step for women in Saudi Arabia is not without opposition, but allowing them to participate on the Olympic stage is a big step for the world towards better women’s rights.
Will Saudi Arabia be an example to the world and other countries that deal with women’s rights issues? We think so. What do you think?