Women’s participation in sports in Saudi Arabia has risen by about 149 percent since 2015 as a result of the Kingdom’s wide-reaching reforms over the past few years, according to Sports Minister Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Faisal.
“We’ve seen an increase of active women participation in sports by about 149 percent from 2015 till today. Only five years ago, women were not allowed to participate in the street but it’s a completely different ball game today,” the minister said during a webinar organized by the London Business School’s (LBS) Riyadh Chapter.
In recent years, the Kingdom has made changes to several government policies and promoted the inclusion of women in sports in both professional and recreational activities, he added.
Over the past five years, 22 women’s national teams have participated in various competitive regional games, the minister said.
In February, Saudi Arabia launched its first women’s football league, known as the official Women’s Football League (WFL).
Female equestrians were also allowed to ride alongside male equestrians for the first time in the Kingdom in December 2019 at the Diriyah Equestrian Festival.
The developments in the sports sector are all part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan – a sweeping set of reforms that aims to diversify the country’s economy.