Setback for Women in Saudi Arabia as Proposal for Women’s Sports Education Colleges Fails in Shoura

The Shoura Council failed to pass a proposal to establish sports education colleges for women this week by just three votes.

According to Arab News, the proposal called for a joint venture between the Education Ministry and the General Authority of Sports. The goal is to educate Saudi women on fitness and sports-related sciences and to be able to hold positions at health and fitness clubs that are to be established in the following months.

The proposal won the support of 73 members, but was opposed by 57. The minimum vote count to pass the proposal was 76.

The failure to pass the proposal shows that challenges remain for proponents of greater women’s rights in Saudi Arabia. Despite numerous steps forward for women’s rights and equality in recent months and years, some resistance to change remains.

According to Arab News, opponents of the proposal justified their votes by saying male sports colleges have not proven to be feasible and have not achieved their goals after years of their establishment. “So how will woman sports colleges achieve their goals?” Shoura member Adnan Al-Bar was quoted in local media as saying. “We have to agree that the proposal as an idea is correct.”

Still, Shoura member Lina Almaeena, in noting that a majority of the votes were in favor of the proposal, said “the fact that we’re discussing women sports colleges is a great evolution.”