Women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to attend football matches for the first time on 12 January as part of the latest reforms to hit Gulf nation.

The ministry of information confirmed that women can attend the Al-Ahli versus Al-Batin held in the capital Riyadh, with stadium also permitting women at other games in Jeddah on 13 January and Dammam on 18 January.

Under the current laws in the ultraconservative kingdom, women have been unable to attend any sporting occasion and must also get the permission of a male family member – usually a husband, brother or father – if they want to travel or study or take part in a range of other activities.

Women, who have recently only just been allowed into the national stadium for the very first time in August, were also permitted to attend a concert in the Red Sea city of Jeddah.

The move to allow women into football games is one of a number proposed changes in Saudi Arabia by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as part of the country's Vision 2030 reform programme.

Vision 2030 aims to expand previously restricted social policies, as well as diversify the economy away from oil by opening itself up to tourism and entertainment.

One of the biggest shake-ups that women in the Gulf state will be permitted to hold driving licences in Saudi Arabia from June 2018, ending a notorious law which has been condemned around the world.

In December, the country also lifted a 35 year ban of commercial cinemas, adding it hopes to build more than 300 cinemas containing 2000 screens by 2030.

Saudi women
Saudi women hold up their national flag as they watch the official opening ceremony of the Gulf Cup at the 22 May Stadium in Yemen Getty