Last year, women in Saudi Arabia were allowed to join security forces in areas related to public security – counter-narcotics, criminal investigation, customs, and prisons; but now the government thinks that women in the kingdom can do more.
The Saudi Arabian Defense Ministry announced that from now on, women will be allowed to be enlisted in the army, Asharq Al-awsat reported. According to the newspaper, women in Saudi Arabia can now try their hands at the ground, naval, air, air defence, and missile forces, with military ranks ranging from private soldier to staff sergeant. No other country in the region except for Israel permits women to serve in the military.
“Women’s admission into the most important ministry in the kingdom is a major step in the right direction”, Hassan Al Shihiri, an ex-official at the Defence Ministry, said in an interview with Gulf News newspaper.
However, the government hasn’t confirmed Asharq Al-awsat’s report.
Unprecedented changes have occurred in the deeply conservative Saudi Arabia since Mohammed bin Salman was named crown prince. With his Vision 2030, he wants to transform the country’s image on the international arena and diversify its economy.
In 2017, authorities lifted a ban on driving cars for women and this past August allowed them to travel without the permission of a male relative. In September, Saudi Arabia made the headlines when it announced that it would issue tourists visas for the first time, allowing citizens of 49 countries to visit Riyadh.