Women in Saudi Arabia can now join military

In a major development, the Saudi Ministry of Defence has said that women in Saudi Arabia can now take up arms and join the military. Saudi women can join the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defence, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services, Gulf News reported.

The move comes under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 initiative, introducing reforms allowing Saudi women to advance in various fields. Now, women will be able to do jobs that were previously limited to men only.

Saudi students walk at the exhibition to guide job seekers at Glowork Women’s Career Fair in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on 2 October 2018. [REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser]

The plan to allow women into the military was first announced in 2019, the same year when the Saudi kingdom said it would allow women to leave the country without permission from a male relative.

The Saudi Ministry of Defence announced that men and women in the kingdom can now apply for positions in the military through their unified admission portal. According to the ministry, Saudi women would be recruited as soldiers, lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, and staff sergeants.

To join the armed forces, a woman must be between the age of 21 and 40, be 155 centimetres tall or above, and cannot be a government employee.

A Saudi woman must also hold an independent national identity card, have at least a high school education, and cannot be married to a non-Saudi, reported Gulf news.

For male citizens wanting to join the armed forces, they must be between the ages of 17 and 40 and be a minimum of 160 centimetres tall.