Physical Education for Girls No Longer Taboo in Saudi
In a curious policy change, public schools in
the ultraconservative kingdom of Saudi Arabia are gearing up, for the first
time in their history, to provide physical education for girls. The Saudi
education ministry has announced that physical education for girls would start with
the coming academic year.
It is markedly a shift from the rigid rules restricting freedom and choice of girls. The announcement did not specify the activities under consideration, but said they would be introduced gradually and “in accordance with the rules of Sharia or Islamic law.”
Conservatives have opposed sports for a number of reasons. While some oppose sportswear for women for fear of losing their modesty others argue that sports go against women’s “nature” or cause them to develop muscles that make them look like men.