Saudi women celebrate Women's Day with a jog in Jeddah

From Reuters - March 8, 2018

JEDDAH, Saudi Arabia (Reuters) - Paying no heed to bemused onlookers, a group of women in the Saudi city of Jeddah marked International Womens Day on Thursday by exercising one of their newly acquired freedoms: the right to go for a jog.

Saudi women have had a momentous year as the young, reform-minded Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman lifted a number of key restrictions on their rights. Women can now attend football matches, partake in sports themselves and by the summer will be allowed to drive cars.

Saudi Arabia is still one of the most restrictive countries for women in the world. The deeply conservative kingdom has no women ministers and retains a guardianship system requiring women to have a male relatives approval for important decisions.

But with even that being chipped away, it is hard to overstate how much Saudi womens lives are being transformed.

In Jeddahs historic district, smiling women wearing traditional full-length robes adapted for sports cheered and one even skipped with joy as they pounded through the sleepy alleys past puzzled shopowners.

The government introduced physical education for girls last year and began licensing womens sports clubs, but Saudis are still coming around to women running in public.


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