Saudis to allow girls to play sports in public schools – Chicago Tribune

Saudi Arabia said Tuesday that it will grant girls in public schools access to physical education, a decision that comes after years of calls by women across the kingdom demanding greater rights and access to sports.

The Education Ministry said it will introduce the physical education classes “gradually” and “in accordance with (Islamic) Shariah regulations.”

At least one Saudi activist took to Twitter questioning whether this implied that girls will be required to seek the permission of their male guardians, such as a father, before they can play sports. It was also unclear if the classes would be extracurricular or mandatory.

The decision to allow girls to play sports in public schools is significant in Saudi Arabia because women taking part in exercise is still seen as a taboo. Some of the kingdom’s ultraconservatives shun the concept of women’s exercise as “immodest” and say it blurs gender lines.

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