Saudi Arabia to Allow Women at Three Sports Stadiums

IMAGE: Soccer crowd in Riyadh
Fans cheer during an Asian confederation champions league match at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in October 2010.Hassan Ammar / AP file

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By Tim Stelloh

Saudi Arabia will open three sports stadiums to women next year, authorities announced Sunday.

The Saudi General Sports Authority said on Twitter that stadiums in three cities — Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman — "will be ready to accommodate families from early 2018," according to a translation by Agence France-Presse.

The announcement comes one month after the ultra-conservative country's interior ministry issued a decree allowing women to drive next year.

That decree was part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's wide-ranging reform efforts, which also include boosting women's participation in the workforce from 22 percent to 30 percent.

Saudi Arabia has consistently been ranked among the world's worst for gender equality.