At the 2012 London Olympics, the world cheered two women athletes--Wujdan Shahrkhani in judo and Sarah Attar in track and field. But back in Saudi Arabia, millions of women and girls are still banned from taking part in sport in state schools, which is a violation of the Olympic Charter's ban on gender discrimination. The Olympics should be a starting line for all of Saudi Arabia’s women and girls to enjoy the social, educational, and health benefits of taking part in sports.
Saudi Arabia: Let Women and Girls Play Sports
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"Allowing women to compete under the Saudi flag in the London Games will set an important precedent. But without policy changes to allow women and girls to play sports and compete within the kingdom, little can change for millions of women and girls deprived of sporting opportunities."
~ Christoph Wilcke, senior Middle East researcher at Human Rights Watch
For further information:
> Read the report, "Steps of the Devil"
> New York Times 2/15/12
> Nikki Dryden, "Let Saudi women compete in London," Globe and Mail 6/6/12
Sports in Saudi Arabia
The Olympic Charter
"Steps of the Devil"
WHAT WE WANT
We Want Saudi Arabia to Respect Women's Rights
Saudi Arabia should adopt new policies that will create real, systemic change to benefit all Saudi women and girls, including:
• Establishing a timeline and benchmarks for introducing physical education as a mandatory subject for girls in public and private schools.
• Allowing the creation of women’s gyms and sports clubs.
The International Olympic Committee Can and Should Help
We are asking the International Olympic Committee to uphold the values of the Olympic Charter. The IOC should use its leverage with Saudi Arabia and urge the country to take steps to end discrimination against women in sports.