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The Financial Express

Saudi Arabia allows women to join armed forces

| Updated: February 27, 2018 13:55:06


Saudi women arrive to attend Janadriyah Culture Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 8, 2016. (REUTERS) Saudi women arrive to attend Janadriyah Culture Festival on the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 8, 2016. (REUTERS)

Women in Saudi Arabia now have the permission to join the military as the kingdom continues to enact reforms granting females more access to a wide range of previously forbidden careers.

They are able to apply for positions with the rank of soldier in the provinces of Riyadh, Mecca, al-Qassim and Medina.

The BBC reports that interested women will be allowed to apply for security roles, which are not combat positions. They will also be required to meet twelve stipulations.

The requirements include being Saudi citizens, being aged 25 to 35, having a high school diploma, living in the same province as the job’s location with a male guardian- usually husband, father, brother or son, and being at least 5 feet tall with a ‘good weight to height ratio, as confirmed by a medical check-up,’ Newsweek reported.

News agency Xinhua says, the recruitment of female soldiers is one of many reforms enhancing women's rights introduced in recent months in the kingdom.

The country announced its plan to allow women to drive from June this year, and ride-hailing apps are getting prepared to hire female drivers.

Furthermore, Saudi women last month were given permission to attend football matches and to open their own businesses without the consents of their male relatives.

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor's office said this month it would also begin recruiting women investigators for the first time.

The kingdom has also opened 140 positions for women at airports and border crossings, a historic first that the government said drew 107,000 female applicants.

However, human rights activists say Saudi Arabia's discriminatory male guardianship system remains intact despite government pledges to abolish it.

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