In a first, Saudi Arabia allows women to join the military
They will not be given combat roles but will work in security.
For the first time in Saudi Arabia’s history, the country has opened applications for women to join its military. The women, however, will not be given combat roles but will work in security.
The decision is a part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 social programme and was announced by the General Directorate of Public Security. Interested women have till Thursday to apply for positions in Riyadh, Mecca, Medina and Al-Qusaim, the Saudi Gazette reported on Monday.
To apply, the women need to fulfil 12 requirements besides obtaining their guardian’s approval. They must be Saudi citizens, be aged between 25 and 35, have at least a high school diploma, and must have grown up in the country, unless their fathers were posted abroad on a government job.
Women married to foreigners and those who either have a criminal record or have worked previously in a government or military organisation cannot apply. The applicant and her male guardian – usually a husband, father, brother or son – must also have a residence in the same area as the job’s location.
Saudi Arabia is infamous for its rules against women. The World Economic Forum in 2016 had ranked the kingdom 141st out of 144 on gender parity.
In October 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had vowed to focus on eradicating extremism within his kingdom and a return to “moderate Islam”. He said the country was “not like this in the past”. “We will eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon,” he had promised. “We represent the moderate teachings and principles of Islam.”
Ever since, he has been easing restrictions on Saudi women. In January, the country allowed women to enter a football stadium for the first time to watch a game. In September 2017, it was announced that women will be allowed to drive from June 2018.