Earlier this week, I meant to blog about Saudi Arabia's decision to allow girls' sports
in private schools, but was busy with the usual end of semester rush. Today, however, AP reports on the growing trend of women's sports teams in the Gulf
As part of a new initiative launching sports leagues for women, Muneera
and her team mates from Salwa Al Sabah club downed Qadsiya club 63-13 in
a game that attracted several hundred men and female fans. The
initiative to launch basketball, table tennis and athletic leagues for
the first time in Kuwait illustrates how the landscape for women
athletes is improving across the Gulf where hard-liners have long
opposed women playing sports.
Several of the players, in deference to the conservative Muslim culture
that is common across the Gulf, wore leggings and covered their heads
with the hijab. Others, however, wore shorts and T-shirts...
Helped by government support, increased education and erosion of
traditional values, football leagues for girls in the Gulf have started
up in Qatar and the UAE. Saudi Arabia — which long barred girls from
playing any sports — recently announced it would allow sports in private
schools as long as they abide by the rules of Sharia, or Islamic law.
This issue is not only about women's rights to compete in sports for its own sake, but a matter of public health since sports are an important way in which physically active lifestyles are promoted in schools.
Labels: Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Women's Rights