For the first time in history, Saudi Arabia allowed women to spectate a local football match, which took place in the city of Jeddah.

Women were allowed to enter the stadium through "family gates" and into the family seating area as part of easing the strict rules on gender separation.

The women's presence marked a significant moment for the ultra-conservative Muslim country and followed a series of reforms intended to modernise the Kingdom.

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The so-called "family sections" were designed to keep women separated from the male-only crowds, while the stadium was also fitted with female prayer areas and restrooms.

"Family sections" also allowed married couples, direct relatives and groups of friends to sit together.

"A lot of people wanted to wait and see how it is. Some thought it wouldn't be very safe or organised," said Swick, who attended the game with her Saudi husband and son, and her American mother.

Lamya Khaled Nasser, a 32-year-old football fan from Jeddah, told AFP she was proud and looked forward to the match.

The women were allowed to enter the stadium through
The women were allowed to enter the stadium through "family gates". Photo / Getty

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"This event proves that we are heading for a prosperous future. I am very proud to be a witness of this massive change," she said.

Ahead of the game, clubs took to Twitter to encourage women in attending the local match offering them traditional robes in team colours.

While many supported and welcomed the decision to allow women into stadiums, others spoke out against it.

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Some people used the hashtag online to write that women should stay at home to focus on children and preserving their faith, and not at a stadium packed with males.

Saudi Arabia's royal family and religious establishment adhere to an austere form of Sunni Islam and Islamic codes of behaviour, which are strictly enforced.

There are still many things women are unable to do without permission, such as applying for passports, travelling abroad, opening a bank account and starting certain businesses.