First-ever batch of women soldiers graduate in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabian women can now take up arms and enter the military and be employed in varied military ranks ranging from soldier to sergeant. 

Updated: Sep 3, 2021 15:40 IST
First-ever batch of women soldiers graduate in Saudi Arabia
First-ever batch of women soldiers graduate in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia's first-ever batch of women soldiers has graduated from the Armed Forces Women's Cadre Training Centre. They have completed their 14 weeks of basic training, which had started on May 30, 2021. 

The names of all the graduates including the names of the most outstanding students, who have been rewarded with prizes, were announced at a recently held ceremony. 

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had allowed Saudi Arabian women to enroll in the military in a landmark decision in February 2021. This was a major decision as it allowed women in the nation to take up arms, which was never allowed before this. 

Significance

Saudi Arabian women can now take up arms and enter the military and be employed in varied military ranks ranging from soldier to sergeant. Women can now be employed as soldiers, lance corporals, corporals, sergeants and staff sergeants in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force and Armed Forces Medical Services.

Saudi Arabia becoming more liberal for women?

Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman aims to transform the Arab world’s largest economy by gradually increasing the participation of women in the workforce of the nation. 

The Kingdom, which has been conservative for decades when it comes to women, has gradually started opening up by allowing them to take up several roles that had been previously limited to men. 

The plan to allow women into the military was first announced in 2018, when the country had also allowed women to open their own businesses without showing consent from a husband or male relative.

The women enrolling in the military will, however, have to fulfil the following criteria:

-They will need to fulfil the usual weight and height criteria.

-They will need to have at least high school education. 

-Women married to foreigners will not be accepted into the military. 

Background 

Saudi Arabian women had limited employment options till recently, as they were mostly only allowed to work as teachers or for a government entity. In 2011, a law was passed ruling that all cosmetic and lingerie businesses will only have women employees. 

Now, various employment options are opening up for women. The Saudi Arabian Justice Minister appointed 100 women as public notaries in 2020. The nation will also start appointing female court judges from this year. 

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