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Saudi Arabian Women Can Now Join The Military – What This Means For Gender Inequality

A delighted Saudi woman enjoying her new right to drive herself as part of the Crown Prince’s efforts for modernization, along with allowing women in the military.


On the coattails of the end of the driving ban for Saudi Arabian women in June comes the news that women are now allowed to enter the military in security positions. The announcement comes as part of the Crown Prince Salman’s initiative to start reversing the gender equality gap called Vision 2030, which sets goals to modernize the country by 2030.

While they are not yet allowed to enlist as soldiers, which would grant them equal opportunities to their male counterparts, this is still a huge step in the right direction. Some argue that the extensive list of requirements, 12 in all, that women have to meet in order to apply is quite extensive and negates the idea of equality at all. When looked at a bit closer, the requirements aren’t that different from normal military qualifications.

Not to mention, given that Saudi Arabia is a deeply conservative society, it’s a lot to expect them to grant full equality in rights and opportunities when introducing a new allowance. Therefore, we should be happy with this, as it is one in what is becoming a list of new privileges for women, including being able to attend football matches, another milestone for women that happened last month.

While this is a small step, it is a step nonetheless for Saudi women, and is hopefully a step that will be expanded and accompanied by others in the next decade as Saudi Arabia strives for more equality among men and women.

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