On Sunday, it is reported that the unified admission portal started to accept applications of Saudi women to take part in the army. Saudi women can apply for recruitment in the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services. Saudi women can serve within ranks from soldier to sergeant in the aforementioned branches of the army.
Apart from general procedures that required for all applicants including having a clean record and being medically fit for service, the Saudi Ministry of Defense listed some extra criteria for women applicants. According to this, female candidates must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, have at least a height of 155 or taller, and cannot be at the public service. Female candidates also must be graduated at least from a high school and hold an independent national identity card. The application of those married with non-Saudi citizens will not be accepted.
Saudi Arabia has witnessed an increasing number of reform attempts under the guidance of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the last years. In this context, the attempts for improving Saudi women’s position in society have drawn attention. In this line, some business lines which previously forbidden for women have been gradually opened. Many analysts consider these moves by the Saudi Crown Prince as an attempt to eye-wash Western countries. Human rights activists state that women in Saudi Arabia are still being considered as second-class citizens despite the reform attempts. It is seen that there are many women’s rights activists in Saudi jails. Recently, one of the prominent activists Loujain Al-Hathloul has been released after strong criticism from Western countries and institutions.