In a step in the right direction, Saudi Arabia has announced that girls in public schools will be allowed to take part in physical education.
The announcement, made on Tuesday, changed the rules so that not only private school girls could take part in sports at school, but girls in public schools could too.
The Education Ministry in Saudi Arabia have confirmed the decision, announcing that the classes will be in line with Shariah regulations, and will be introduced into the curriculum with the coming academic year.
The progress towards equal gender rights in the country has been slow, with the opening of the first girls’ school in the country 50 years ago sparking protests.
While schools will remain segregated by gender, the Kingdom has seen a surge in university attendance from females, with the introduction of all-female faculties.
Saudi’s Education Ministry have said that the decision to offer physical education for girls was part of the Saudi Vision 2030, which seeks to make life in the Kingdom more enjoyable for citizens, and aims to get at least 40 per cent of Saudis to exercise at least once a week.
The addition of physical education for girls to the public school curriculum will come slowly, since many of the girls’ schools lack sports facilities.
However, any step in the right direction is a step worth taking.