Women over 25 to be allowed Saudi visa with no chaperone

Mohammad bin Salman Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia. Bandar Algaloud  Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court  Reuters

The women, however, had to enter through designated turnstiles for women and families.

The announcement that Saudi Arabia will allow families into three sports stadiums was made previous year, in a landmark move that opened up the previously male-only venues to families.

The apps are seen as a lifeline to women with no independent way to get around the kingdom. The World Economic Forum in 2016 had ranked the kingdom 141st out of 144 on gender parity, The Guardian reported.

In September, women were allowed into the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh for the first time to witness the 87th anniversary celebrations of the country's foundation.

However, after King Salman ascended the throne, he tried to break the country's patriarchal traditions for allowing women to progress.

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The first football match attended by women takes place a day after the first female-only auto showroom opened in Jeddah on Thursday, which is staffed completely by women.

"Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah and Damman to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018", the General Sports Authority said on Twitter. The historic opening comes only a few months after a Royal Decree lifting on the ban on women driving in the Kingdom and six months before they will actually be able to climb behind the wheel.

Head of the Saudi Federation for Sports Media, Raja Al-Sulami, detailed the preparations undertaken to ready the stadiums for female fans. As a result, women will be allowed into Prince Abdullah al-Faisal Stadium in Jeddah on Friday to watch a Saudi Premier League football match for the very first time.

The initiative, spearheaded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination. Previous year he pledged to modernise the kingdom and to scale back the power of its ultraconservative clerics, returning Saudi Arabia to what he described as "moderate Islam".

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