Saudi women takes a new step By

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Women attended a soccer match in Saudi Arabia for the first time on Friday.

In Saturday's match Al-Hilal drew 1-1 versus Al-Ittihad.

Lamya Khaled Nasser, a 32-year-old football fan from Jeddah, told AFP she was proud and looking forward to the match.

The so-called "family sections" were created to keep women separated from the male-only crowds, while the stadium was also fitted with female prayer areas and restrooms.

Some pictures showed women with children entering the stadium, where signs were posted to indicate an entrance for families.

"This event proves that we are heading for a prosperous future".

"Today, you brought happiness to every Saudi family and woman who attended the first game", Reema Bandar Al-Saud, a deputy at the General Sports Authority and part of the Saudi Royal family, told CNN.

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Ruwayda Ali Qassem, another Jeddah resident, said it was a "historic day in the kingdom which culminates (in) ongoing fundamental changes".

Powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is believed to have championed lifting the ban as he is seeking to open up the country and revamp its global image.

Some used the hashtag to share photos of female spectators wearing their team's colors in scarves thrown over their abayas.

Ahead of the game, clubs took to Twitter to encourage women in attending the local match offering them traditional robes in team colours.

"The plan for the country's economic reinvention rests on a number of pillars, including youth empowerment, social organization and women's empowerment".

Saudi Arabia has always been one of the world's most restrictive places for women, where a combination of religion, social custom and government regulation has dictated what they wear and barred them from driving, holding a range of jobs and traveling as they wish.

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