Sport is a crucial part of Saudi Arabia’s path forward, Princess Reema says.
Saudi Arabia’s Princess Reema bin Bandar bin Sultan has a packed schedule right now.
Head of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports and vice president of development and planning at the Saudi Arabian General Sports Authority, the princess has made it her business to get women in the Kingdom moving.
At an event in London, she explained how she sees sport helping Saudi Arabia to its next steps.
“I am building an entire sports ecosystem: From the athletes, to the female ushers, and security guards, we’re going from the micro to the macro to the triple macro,” Arab News quotes the princess. “Every sector in the country requires a down chain.”
Princess Reema’s plan to legitamise women’s gyms will create 4,000 jobs, but it’s not just about that side of things, she says.
“I’ve encouraged women to go out on the streets and into the public parks to exercise,” Arab News quotes the princess.
“I’ve been telling women they don’t need permission to exercise in public, they don’t need permission to activate their own sports programs. And more and more they are doing it.”
“The choices that women have today are greater than yesterday and every day they will grow more.”
Princess Reema hopes to have 500 women’s gyms licensed by the end of June. There are currently 47 in operation, Arab News reports.
Last week, 1,500 Saudi women took part in the Kingdom’s first all-female road race.
The recent changes, such as the lifting of the ban on women entering sports stadiums, come as part of Vision 2030, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious post-oil economic plan which aims to make Saudi a more modern, tourist-friendly destination.
Last September, a royal decree revealed women will be able to secure driving licences from June 2018, with the news widely celebrated around the globe.
As part of the initiative, the government also aims to increase the percentage of women in the nation’s workforce from 23 per cent to 28 per cent by 2020.
Additionally, more Saudi females have been appointed to top jobs, a royal directive allowed women to use certain government services without a male guardian’s consent, and recent approval was issued for the go-ahead of women’s gyms.
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