Known as a patriarchal society to the world, the country is taking steps to break new ground. Saudi Arabia is surely breaking the stereotypes. Recently, the country named a woman as the head of its multi-sports federation. This comes at a time when sports in the country is dominated by men in the society. An official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told AFP that Princess Rima Bint Bandar bin Sultan has become "the first woman to lead a federation" covering sporting activities for men and women.
The princess was in news in 2016 when she scored another first for women in Saudi Arabia. She was then named by the cabinet to a senior post in the kingdom’s equivalent of a Sports Ministry.
Rima bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud belongs to the House of Saud, the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia. She is the daughter of the former Saudi ambassador to Washington and is a graduate of the American University. Apart from being a princess, she is an entrepreneur and a philanthropist.
She is a founding member of the Zahra Breast Cancer Awareness Association based in Riyadh and has been constantly involved in curing the disease and spreading awareness in the country to treat cancer at the first stage.
The event of her becoming the head of the sports federation is one of its kind because the country does not allow women to practice sports at public places and even the introduction of private sports centers for women has aroused criticism among religious conservatives in the Gulf state.“Under the country's guardianship system, a male family member - normally the father, husband or brother - must grant permission for a woman's study, travel and other activities,” said the official to AFP.