Saudi Arabia hosted female golfers from around the world for a professional women’s golf tournament in a historical first for the Kingdom.
“Saudi is opening to the world, opening to women,” said Moroccan athlete Maha Haddioui.
Haddioui is the first female Arab athlete to compete in the Ladies European Tour, which she says marks a “new page” for women in Saudi Arabia.
“I think it’s about time the world sees this new face of Saudi,” she said.Maha Haddioui
Nabeel Jama, the senior vice president of human resources and corporate services for Saudi Aramco, the company sponsoring the event, expressed the importance of encouraging women to participate in golf, a typically male-dominated sport.
“Beyond the obvious physical benefits of participating in golf, or any other sports, there are multiple benefits including building self-esteem, overcoming gender stereotypes, providing opportunities for leadership, and encouraging younger generations of women to become more competitive and motivated to achieve greatness,” Jama said in an interview with Al Arabiya English.
The Saudi Ladies International Golf Tournament began last Thursday and concluded Sunday.
In an effort to empower and support women in golf, Saudi Arabia is also opening new golf courses and offering 1,000 free golf course memberships for Saudi women through the opening of the Ladies First Club.
“We are showing our support and commitment to women’s inclusion in sports, in keeping with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to empower the Kingdom’s female population,” said Jama.
The World Bank reports that Saudi Arabia ranks number one in economic progress towards gender equality since 2017.