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for the first time, women attend soccer game in saudi arabia

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for the first time, women attend soccer game in saudi arabia

when the first goal was scored during the soccer game in saudi arabia on friday, a new noise joined the ruckus in the stands: the sound of women cheering.in the soccer-obsessed but ultraconservative islamic kingdom, the match between the local teams al-ahli and al-batin in jiddah was the first time that women had been allowed to attend a game at a public stadium, a new step in the government's efforts to loosen gender restrictions.saudi arabia has long been one of the world's most restrictive places for women, where a combination of religion, social custom and government regulation has dictated what they wear and barred them from driving, holding a range of jobs and traveling as they wish.but these rules have begun to change under king salman, who became the saudi monarch in 2015, and are driven by his son, mohammed bin salman, 32, the country's crown prince.mohammed bin salman has removed powers from religious police, placed women in prominent positions they would have never held before and promised to lift the ban on women driving in june.these efforts are part of broader reforms he is leading to restructure the saudi economy away from its dependence on oil, temper the kingdom's religious rhetoric and provide new employment and entertainment options for the kingdom's large youth population, including women.the decision to allow women to attend soccer games — albeit in "family sections" that keep them separate from the all-male sections — is part of these efforts....