Bowing to pressure: Iran grants women spectators access to sporting event

By James M. Dorsey Iran, bowing to external pressure, has allowed women spectators to attend a premier international men’s volleyball tournament on the island of Kish. The Iranian concession constitutes a rare occasion on which the Islamic republic has not backtracked on promises to international sports associations to lift its ban on women attending men’s … [Read more…]

Women’s gyms lay bare limits of Saudi reforms

By James M. Dorsey A Saudi decision to license within weeks the kingdom’s first women-only gyms constitutes progress in a country in which women’s rights are severely curtailed. It also lays bare the limitations of Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s plan for social and economic reforms that would rationalize and diversify the kingdom’s economy. … [Read more…]