Saudi Arabia has begun to permit women to join its armed forces as part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 social program. According to a statement released by the country’s General Security division on Sunday, women can now apply for enrollment with the rank of soldier.
In order to be accepted the female candidates must fulfill 12 conditions, including being Saudi nationals brought up in the country. They also must be 25 to 35 years old, have high school education, and must pass a medical test. They must also be taller than 155 centimeters, with a suitable weight to height ratio.
Women married to non-Saudis, women who have a criminal record, and women with previous government employment history cannot apply.
The announcement comes as part of Riyadh’s social and economic reform push, dubbed “Vision 2030,” which was launched by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.
In January, Saudi Arabia allowed women to enter stadiums to watch men’s football matches for the first time.
In September, Riyadh removed the driving ban on women as part of its recent reforms to undo the damage the ultraconservative kingdom has suffered for decades of human rights violations both inside and outside of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world to permit women to obtain driving licenses.
The move came several days after women were also permitted access into a sports stadium, for the first time, to watch a concert.
Unveiled on 25 April 2016 by the then-Deputy Crown Prince bin Salman, the plan was touted as an assured way of transforming the country economically by the year 2030. The plan, he said, was aimed at ending Saudi Arabia’s “addiction” to oil, and it envisaged raising non-oil revenues from 163.5 billion riyals (43.6 billion dollars) in 2015 to 1 trillion riyals (267 billion dollars) by 2030.
Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi prince in charge of the economy, who was recently elevated to crown prince status, is also believed to have been the architect of the Yemeni war, as he holds the defense portfolio as well.