A huge leap towards gender equality.
With the announcement that Saudi Arabia along with Qatar and Brunei will have female athletes competing at the Olympics, London 2012 will be a ground-breaking event with women taking part from every nation.
This move, which has been fiercely opposed by many religious conservatives, represents a great shift towards gender equality and should bring much hope to women throughout the Muslim world. However we must make sure that this is not a hollow victory. Progress towards rights for women remains fragile throughout the world and is very vulnerable to age-old pressures.
Both athletes who have been selected to compete for Saudi Arabia, Sarah Attar in the 800m and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo, live and train outside of the kingdom and carry little influence within the nation.
Additionally womens’ sport remains very much an underground activity within many parts of the world. Therefore whilst this news makes me very happy, we still have a long way to go until we will achieve true gender equality. I will be watching Sarah and Wodjan with much anticipation and wish them the very best of luck!