The debate about whether or not KSA's women's rights record clean up is merely cosmetic virtue signaling or not, to me, is easily resolveable by an answer to the following question:
Is even a single woman benefiting from the change in policies? If so, it's a step forward.
When you hear news of 35 women arrested at a soccer match in Iran, and then you hear news that women are finally being allowed to attend sports events in KSA, it's pretty obvious that
1. Every step matters, no matter how small.
2. One country is going forward, while the other is going forward.
How do you move backwards or forward? One step at a time.