Saudi Arabia will allow women to attend sporting events in stadiums starting next year, an announcement that joins a series of groundbreaking reforms addressing the status of women in the kingdom.

The Saudi General Sports Authority made the announcement on Twitter.

“Starting the preparation of three stadiums in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam to be ready to accommodate families from early 2018,” the official sports authority said, in a series of announcements.

The decision falls in line with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's ambitious transformation plan for the kingdom, which already has pushed through significant reforms improving the status of Saudi women.

Most notably, women were granted the right to drive in the kingdom just over a month ago. Saudi Arabia was the only country in the world that did not allow women to drive, making the issue a major point of international criticism.

Women were allowed to enter stadiums for Saudi National Day last month

While female members of society were generally not allowed to attend sporting events, the kingdom did grant women the right to enter King Fahd Stadium with their families for the first time ever during National Day festivities towards the end of September.

Now, according to the latest announcement, women will regularly be allowed to enter stadiums in Dammam, Riyadh, and Jeddah and attend games with their families.

While it may seem like a small step to some, many recognize it as another important move towards progress and greater equality.

On social media, some are sharing their congratulations

Saudi women are steadily gaining more freedom

Many are immensely hopeful about the future

The kingdom is pushing for major reforms

Although many continue to criticize the kingdom for being decades behind many other nations when it comes to women's rights, it's important to note that things have been changing rapidly.

Over the past few years, Saudi Arabia has amended a number of laws in an effort to empower women. 

These include opening municipal elections to female candidates and making women's verbal consent to marriage mandatory. The Saudi Shura Council also announced an amendment to laws governing travel documents, giving women a right to obtain a passport without male permission. 

The male guardianship system has also been seen as a hindrance to women's progress, but a royal decree from King Salman in May suggested that the patriarchal systems' days are outnumbered. And Saudi women have already made significant gains.

Women are rising in the Saudi private and public sector

Increasing women's participation in business and education is also a key part of the Vision 2030 plan championed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. 

Numerous women have been appointed to high financial and business positions within the kingdom just this year.

In February, three Saudi women took over top financial posts in the kingdom. Among them, Sarah Al Suhaimi was appointed as head of the Saudi stock exchange, making international headlines as the first woman to ever chair Tadawul.

Addressing women's rights is a major goal of the crown prince's agenda, which aims to transform Saudi Arabia into a kingdom promoting "moderate Islam".

Last week, the crown prince said the kingdom will return to "what we were before – a country of moderate Islam that is tolerant of all religions and to the world," according to The Guardian.