Saudi Arabia’s women can now join the military. The Ministry of Defence opened a portal on February 21 that allowed both genders to sign up through a unified admission portal. Saudi Arabia had announced the plan to allow women into the military first in 2019.
All applicants to the military must pass admission procedures according to conditions specified. They should have a clean record and be medically fit for service. Female applicants have some additional criterias to fulfil. The female applicants must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, have a height of 155 cm or taller, and cannot be a government employee. They must also hold an independent national identity card and have at least a high school education. Applicants married to non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted.
Women can now apply from the ranks of soldier to sergeant in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.
Since the appointment of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia has initiated various reforms regarding women’s rights. Saudi Arabia allowed women to drive in 2018. In 2019, Saudi Arabia allowed women to leave the country without permission from a male relative. This was an important step toward ending a restrictive guardianship system in the country. Last year, the Minister of Justice of Saudi Arabia appointed 100 women as public notaries. Earlier this year in January, a government official in Saudi Arabia indicated the country will start appointing female court judges soon The guardianship and divorce laws also were also not conducive for women. Many times, women did not know when their husbands divorced them. Hence, in 2019 the court in Saudi Arabia issued a law requiring women to receive a text message from the court when officially divorced.
According to the World Bank’s Women, Business, and Law Report 2020, Saudi Arabia has made significant progress in women’s rights sicme 2017.