Female Saudi supporters of Al Ahli queue at an entrance for families and women at the King Abdullah Sports City
13 January, 2018, 08:23
The decree opened the King Fahd stadium in Riyadh, King Abdullah Sport City stadium in Jeddah, and Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd stadium in Dammam to women and families.
This set-up of the harsh gender isolation was declared in October 2017, as a part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's pushy reforms to revise Saudi society and make better the economy.
"Family sections" also allowed married couples, direct relatives and groups of friends to sit together. "Some thought it wouldn't be very safe or organised", said Swick, who attended the game with her Saudi husband and son, and her American mother.
Lamya Khaled Nasser, a 32-year-old from Jeddah, told Agence France-Press she was proud and looking forward to the match.
Previously women could watch matches on television only.
The decision to allow women to attend a mixed public sporting event is one of many changes the country has undergone in recent months, hailed as proof of a new progressive trend in the deeply conservative Muslim Kingdom.
There are, however, several things that Saudi women still can not do without the permission of the men in their lives - including applying for passports, travelling overseas, getting married, opening a bank account, starting particular businesses, getting elective surgery, or leaving prison.
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