January 20, 2015
Washington DC – The daily lives of women in Saudi Arabia still remain severely restricted by the government. One of the restrictions being the nation’s ban on physical education and organized exercise for women. Providing females access to sports and exercise is still being rejected by the conservatives in this male-dominated kingdom. It is absurd that these conservatives argue that exercise for girls is a Westernizing influence, and that it has no place in the kingdom, as it could lead to adultery and prostitution.
A report titled Killing Them Softly- How Saudi Ban on Women’s Sports is Harming Their Health, released by The Institute for Gulf Affairs provides an in-depth account on the various health effects on the Saudi women population stemming from official restrictions on women’s participation in sports and physical activity of any kind. Analyzing the available data on women’s health, the report reveals that the current condition of women’s health in the country is nothing short of miserable. Women are afflicted by higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and heart diseases than men. In addition, women suffer greater rates of unemployment, and physiological conditions such as depression. Most of these diseases are directly linked to the lack of physical activity and a healthy lifestyle.
The ban on sports and physical exercise exacerbates the plethora of non-communicable diseases that afflict Saudi women, including cardiovascular illnesses, vitamin C deficiency, diabetes and obesity. These diseases are growing rampant in the female population, and as their rates continue to rise, are sure to continue to kill women.
View full report Here.