Saudi public schools will begin offering physical education for girls in the coming academic year, the kingdom’s education ministry announced on Tuesday, a long-awaited step toward social reform in the Islamic kingdom.
Physical education for women is controversial in Saudi Arabia, where conservatives consider it immodest, and it is not mandatory. It is not offered in most public schools, although some private schools include it in the curriculum.
Saudi Arabia adheres to strict interpretations of Islamic law and tribal custom, requiring women to have male guardians throughout their lives and obey a modest dress code. Women are barred from driving.
However, the Saudi government has in recent years begun introducing gradual reforms to open new opportunities for women and expand their participation in the labor force.
The advisory Shura Council approved the introduction of physical education for girls in 2014, although the decision was never implemented as it faced pushback from clerics who decried it as “Westernisation.”
Earlier this year, the council opened the door to licensing for women’s gyms, which were previously in legal limbo.
Saudi Arabia struggles with high rates of obesity, which place pressure on its health system. The kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan is seeking to address the issue by introducing more sports and leisure activities.
Who is the girl pictured running alongside a camel during a Saudi festival?A picture of girl running next to a camel went viral in Saudi Arabia with many ... Art and culture
Young Saudi girl’s internship request on Twitter elicits job offersSocial media is a platform where people can connect and share online. However, it ... Variety
Saudi girl paints horrific image of her mother’s car accidentA 16-year-old student in the Saudi village of Namrah in Jazan has painted a ... Variety
Two girls attacked by Ethiopian maid in Saudi Arabia’s Jazan provinceThe girls suffered cuts and bruises and are recovering at the ICU at a local ... Variety