Saudi women takes a new step By

In a first, women in Saudi Arabia attend a soccer match

Saudi women attend sports event for first time

Women in black abayas and fluorescent orange vests stood at the gates at King Abdullah Stadium, welcoming people into the family section that, for the first time in Saudi Arabia, allowed women to attend a men's football match.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been easing restrictions on women in the country since he came into power last June.

But even segregated as they were, their presence in the stadium marked a significant moment for the Kingdom.

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The so-called "family sections" were created to keep women separated from the male-only crowds, while the stadium was also fitted with female prayer areas and restrooms.

The order opened the previously male-only venues of King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, and Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Stadium in Dammam to accommodate families.

Lamya Khaled Nasser, a 32-year-old from Jeddah, told Agence France-Press she was proud and looking forward to the match.

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Ahead of the game, clubs took to Twitter to encourage women in attending the local match offering them traditional robes in team colours. Stadiums will also have separate cafes and prayer rooms for women.

Saudi Arabia will see more mixed stadiums opening over the next few days with the capital Riyadh opening its stadium tomorrow and the city of Damam next week.

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