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Saudi Arabia allows women to join military


A member of the Saudi forces stands to a…A member of the Saudi forces stands to attention during a visit by Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah at the Saudi-led coalition military base in Yemen’s southern embattled city of Aden on September 28, 2015. AFP PHOTO / AHMED FARWANAHMED FARWAN/AFP/Getty Images

Women in Saudi Arabia are now permitted to enlist in the army as the kingdom continues to enact reforms granting females more access to a wide range of previously forbidden careers.

Women are now able to apply for positions with the rank of soldier in the provinces of Riyadh, Mecca, al-Qassim and Medina.

A list of requirements says applicants must be Saudi citizens and aged between 25 and 35 with a high school diploma.

Under Saudi Arabia’s guardianship system, women who apply to join the army must also have a place of residence in the same provinces as the job’s location with their male guardians, usually husband, father, brother or son.

The recruitment of female soldiers is one of many reforms enhancing women’s rights introduced in recent months in the kingdom.

The country announced its plan to allow women to drive from June, and ride-hailing apps are getting prepared to hire female drivers.

Furthermore, Saudi women in January were given permission to attend football matches and to open their own businesses without the consents of their male relatives.

Saudi Arabia’s public prosecutor’s office said this month it would also begin recruiting women investigators for the first time.

The kingdom has also opened 140 positions for women at airports and border crossings, a historic first that the government said drew 107,000 female applicants.

However, human rights activists say Saudi Arabia’s discriminatory male guardianship system remains intact in spite of government pledges to abolish it.

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