When it comes to countries that score the lowest in the Glass Ceiling Index, Saudi Arabia may be the first one that pops into people’s minds. In 2016, the conservative kingdom placed 141 (out of 144 counties) in the Glass Ceiling Index as it has a strict guardianship system where women cannot marry, divorce,travel, get a job or have elective surgery without the permission from their male guardians. But some of this is starting to change.
A month after Saudi Arabia permitted women to enter its national sports arena for the first time, the country announced that they are planning to allow women into sport arenas in three major cities by 2018. These sport arenas that were considered male-only zones until now are reportedly starting to make changes to “accommodate families”. According to BBC, restaurants and monitor screens will be set up to accommodate female sports fans, though it is not clear yet how the seating arrangements will be. Traditionally in Saudi Arabia men and women sit separately in public places that allow both men and women.
These reforms come as a part of Saudi Arabia’s plan called “Vision 2030” to reinvent the country’s economy and society. The plan has several pillars consisting of youth empowerment, social organization and women’s empowerment which includes increasing female participation in the labour force and other aspects of life.