The Olympics and the inspiring women representing the world

The Olympics are in full swing, and the world is watching. It’s amazing how these games can pull such emotion from every part of the world as we all watch, holding our breath, as a gymnast swings from bar to bar or a swimmer dives into the water. In honor of these historic and incredible few weeks where the world is brought together, we thought we would highlight the women in the Olympics.

This year, 2012, is the first ever year that every country represented at the Olympics has women on their team. For Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Brunei, this is the first time this has happened. It is monumental and a huge step for gender equality. The U.S. is setting a new bar by actually having more women represented on their Olympic teams than men.

Who to look for this year

This year, there are a few standout women that are going for the gold.

Missy Franklin-Missy has already snatched her first Olympic medal in the 4X100 meter freestyle relay team and she is expected to get more. The 17-year-old is stealing medals as easily and she is stealing America’s heart.

Jennings/Treanor duo-Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor are the beach volleyball duo that haven’t been beaten in the past 3 Olympics. These girls dominate and we don’t doubt that this year will be any different.

Saudi Arabian women allowed in the upcoming London Olympics

Courtesy of AP

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?