After lifting the law banning Saudi women from driving, the Saudi government announced that starting next year, women will be allowed to enter sports stadiums, and attend events. It is another step towards increasing women’s rights, in what it is one of the most conservative Muslim countries in the world.

There was a first sign, last month

At one event last month, to celebrate the country’s founding, women were allowed for the first time, to enter the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh. 25-year-old Sultana told Reuters at the time that it was the first time she had ever entered the stadium, and felt more like a true Saudi citizen.

She added that she hoped soon to be allowed to do other things, such as driving or travel abroad. The king, soon after the celebrations, announced that women would be allowed to drive.

There are some strict rules to follow though

The Saudi General Sports Authority announced that women will be allowed to attend sports events in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, but once inside the stadiums, women will still have to sit in “family” designated areas, well apart from men-only seating areas. In the celebration event last month, according the Huffington Post website, women who went to the King Fahd International Stadium, had to enter through a different gate and were separated from the men.

Still, a long way to go concerning women

Prince Muhammed bin Salman has been pushing reforms to modernize the country, improving its image abroad. Although these measures are a huge step for women’s rights in Saudi Arabia, the country’s law is very limited for them. Besides having to wear an abaya or the hijab, women still don’t have the right to own a passport, leave the country without a male guardian, or even show up in public without a man to act on her behalf.

Last week, at an event of the Saudi Arabia's Future Investment Initiative, a robot called Sophia, was introduced to the public and was granted Saudi citizenship. She became not only the first robot in the world to be recognised with a citizenship but also acquired with this action, more rights than Saudi women. Many voices, like Ali Al-Ahmed, asked how this was possible since the country's law forbids non-Muslims to get citizenship.

He also asked what was Sophia's religion was and why wasn't she wearing the hijab? When on stage giving her speech, robot Sophia wasn't wearing a hijab nor an abaya and was not accompanied by a male guardian.