Saudi Arabia is set to open its doors to women aspiring to serve in its army-a first for the ultra orthodox religious kingdom.
In a society where women are traditionally seen as weaklings, Saudi norms bar women from taking part in certain areas related to the economic and political situation of the country. Often, Saudi women are discriminated in various spheres of life with lots of restrictions on their rights and freedoms due to cultural and traditional limitations.
As a result of the new Saudi thinking, women are finally being given the chance to take part in both the economy and the political affairs of the country. The surprising new trajectory from the Saudi rulers is not only granting women the right to drive, but also the right to military service.
The new decision made as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 social program was announced by the General Directorate of Public Security. Any interested applicants from Riyadh, Makah, al Qusaim and Medina can apply through the government’s electronic portal; this according to a release from the authorities.
Before applying to be a part of the military, candidates must fulfill all the 12 requirements in order to be accepted. The requirements include being a resident or citizen of Saudi Arabia. According to the release, applicants must have been raised in the kingdom unless their father had to live abroad because of government related duties.
Applicants must also be between the ages of 25 to 35 years and their level of education must be good. There is also a medical test that all applicants must ace. Females intending to serve must also be at least 6 feet/1.8 meters tall with a ‘suitable’ body size.
Women with criminal records, those with a non-Saudi spouse and those who previously worked for the government are excluded from military duties.
The recent modernization drive also saw the government’s General directorate of passports opening 140 jobs for women in the air traffic control sector at Saudi airports. Authorities are also allowing women to enter stadiums to watch football games where men are playing; a first in the kingdom.
Since the launching of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 program, Saudi society has witnessed rapid social, cultural, political and economic changes. As part of the so-called reformist vision, the government has repeatedly stressed that it is determined to grant women their rights thus slowly removing the restrictions on them.