Iranian women just received a big win in the push towards gender equality.
For the first time in 40 years, women in Iran will be allowed to enter a soccer stadium. Iran will play in the World Cup qualifier game against Cambodia at Tehran’s Azadi Stadium on Thursday, Oct. 10. World football’s governing body, FIFA, ordered Iran to allow women to end the country’s 40-year ban on women watching live sports events.
An initial allocation of 3,500 tickets for female fans was quickly sold out.
An additional 1,100 tickets for women were added. “This is a hugely historic moment for Iranian football, but also for the Iranian women who have protested in the face of [the risk of] being caught and almost certainly sent to Evin Prison, the famous prison for political prisoners in Tehran,” football author and writer James Montague told CNN.
In the past, women have been arrested for attempting to enter the stadium.
In September, a female fan set herself on fire rather than be arrested for watching a football match. Montague explained that Thursday’s game will be a defining moment for Tehran. He said, “It’s a very changeable situation and at the last minute it could switch, so everybody is waiting, holding their breath and hoping that Iranian women will finally get to see the national team play a game of football in their home country for the first time in 40 years.”
Many people in Tehran support the new policy that allows women the freedom to enter football stadiums.
One woman, who only gave her name as Hasti, spoke to The Guardian and said, “I would like there to be freedom for women, like men, to go freely and even sit side by side without any restrictions, like other countries.”