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Saudi Arabia Allows Women To Join The Military For The First Time

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Saudi Arabia Allows Women To Join The Military For The First Time

Women will be allowed to join the Saudi Arabian military for the first time in the country's history as Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues his attempts to 'modernise' the country.

Previously, women have been forbidden from joining the air force, army, navy, armed medical services or missile force.

They'll now be allowed to join up at all ranks between soldier and sergeant provided they are between the ages of 21 and 40 years of age, have no criminal convictions and not married to a non-Saudi citizen.

Any women wishing to join up must also possess at least a high school education.

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The Crown Price hopes that this - and other efforts - will help to improve the country's image around the world.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Credit: PA
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Credit: PA

Those efforts mean that job avenues that were previously closed to women have started to gradually open up.

The ruler wants 'vision 2030' to increase the amount of foreign investment in his country by bringing it more into step with modern countries worldwide.

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That means that women have been allowed to work in shops, in coffee houses and the service industry, and other professions for the first time ever.

The plan to include women in the military was announced back in 2019, the same year that women were allowed to leave the country without receiving permission from a male relative, which was hailed as a key step to ending the system of guardianship that has been criticised both within the country and outside.

Despite that, there is still a good way to go for Saudi Arabia.

While women can now drive, work, and travel independently, women's rights are still a cause for international concern, and dissenters have recently been cracked down upon.

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Just this month, a political prisoner who campaigned for women to have the right to drive was released from prison after spending three years incarcerated.

Loujain al-Hathloul wanted women to be granted driving licences and was arrested in 2018, sentenced to six years under a counter-terrorism law.

Women can now drive in Saudi Arabia. Credit: PA
Women can now drive in Saudi Arabia. Credit: PA

There have also been damning reports of women's rights activists being subject to inhumane abuses including sexual and physical abuse whilst in prison.

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Al-Hathloul was held for 1001 days in total, including her time in detention before her trial and was kept in solitary confinement.

Saudi Arabia was the last country in the world to prohibit women from getting behind the wheel of a car.

The country also plans to appoint female court judges 'soon', according to the Minister of Justice.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Saudi Arabia, World News, Interesting

Tom Wood
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