Girls' sports in Saudi Arabia? Why this is a BIG deal

Girls' sports in Saudi Arabia? Why this is a BIG deal

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Girls' sports in Saudi Arabia? Why this is a BIG deal

Credit: Hasan Jamali/AP

Some of us were ballers, chosen for sides immediately in dodge ball, kickball and softball in the junior high and high school fields of our youth.

Some of us slinked into physical education (P.E.) with a forged sick note or simply uttered the word, “cramps” to the male gym teacher so we could watch from the sidelines.

But we had the choice.

Choice=Empowerment

Last week, the Saudi Arabian government announced that girls would be allowed — for the first time ever — to participate in physical education classes.

Participate in P.E. For. The. First. Time.

The Saudi Arabian government also announced  that girls in public schools would also be allowed to play sports. (Previously, only private, after-school clubs or private schools allowed girls to participate in sports activities or P.E.)

According to The New York Times article, “Conservatives in Saudi Arabia have long been opposed to women’s sports.”

The Times article continues: “Some conservatives worry that wearing sportswear might make women immodest — still others claim that sports are contrary to women’s “nature” and that developing muscles makes women too masculine.”

Whoa.

We as girls, and later women, may choose to sit on the sidelines or we may throw ourselves into previously male-only arenas.

Either way, the choice is empowering, and its high time that women in Saudi Arabia got to make those decisions.

The move is part of Saudi Arabia’s “Vision 2030” plan to get more Saudis exercising. It’s not yet known what sports the girls will be playing when the new school year begins in mid-September.

But this is a small — and important — step forward toward girls exercising the power of choice.

WATCH: Saudi woman reportedly arrested for wearing mini skirt

Note: Saudi Arabian authorities released the woman in the viral video without charge on Wednesday.

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