• Mary Harrison

Women permitted to join Saudi Arabian military

In an announcement made last week, the Saudi Arabian General Directorate of Public Safety allowed women to join the military. Saudi females who are 25 to 35, who have high school diploma, and who live in one of seven of the kingdom’s provinces have until Thursday, March 1, 2018, to apply for positions. This is part of reaching the “2030 Vision” that the royal heir of Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has for his country.

According to the Saudi Gazette, female military applicants must reside in either the Riyadh, Mecca, Medina, Qassim, Al-Baha, Asir, or Eastern province of Saudi Arabia. They must also have a male guardian - normally a “husband, father, brother or son,” according to the BBC – who works in the province. If they are married, their husbands must also be Saudi.

The female soldiers will be much like police officers, “[preventing] and [investigating] crimes, [combatting] drug and narcotic crimes,” and “[regulating] and [controlling] traffic,” among other duties, the Saudi Gazette records.

According to Karen Elliot House, a member of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Mohammed bin Salman’s 2030 Vision is a “revolutionary blueprint for modernizing [Saudi Arabia’s] economy and moderating its society.” Some of its goals are to increase the number of Saudi’s who exercise, to have a higher number of women in the country working outside of the home, and to become one of the top ten globally competitive countries, the 2030 Vision’s official website reports.

There have been many other recent reforms to the rights of Saudi women, the BBC reports: earlier in the year, females were permitted to spectate soccer games and to work for the General Directorate of Passports for the first time, according to Gulf News. Also, starting in June, women will be allowed to drive.

According to Gulf News, “the elevation of the status of women in Saudi Arabia is being promoted as part of the 2030 Vision.”