In a much surprising move, Saudi women are allowed to serve at the senior ranks in the Kingdom’s military announced Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defence. The latest move comes in the wake of ramping up women’s freedom in the ultra-conservative Saudi society.
Under the new guidelines, Saudi women will be able to serve as sergeants, staff sergeants, corporal, lance corporals in the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Air Force, Royal Saudi Arabian Navy, Royal Saudi Air Defence Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Forces, and Armed Forces Medical Services.
“With these new laws supporting women’s capabilities and rights as citizens… naturally, they will enter new spheres of work, this is the reflection of a national belief in the equality between women and men,” Shura Council member Haya Al-Muni’i told local Arab news outlet.
Women in Saudi Arabia can now join the armed forces to serve as private first class, sergeant and corporal officers while the first ever women football team will start in Iraq today.
The two countries that don’t see eye to eye are liberating women. pic.twitter.com/YA9qRJ2I7d
— Rahesha Sehgal (@SehgalRahesha) October 10, 2019
The move is latest in the streak of handful measures taken for social and economic empowerment of women under Crown Prince’s Muhammad Bin Salman’s ambitious Vision 2030. The increased role of women in the economic development of Saudi Arabia, the emancipation of women, and their equal representation in the Kingdom are the prime components of Vision 2030. The grand-scale ‘Vision 2030’ intends to modernize and brand Saudi Arabia as a progressive and a developed country.
Women Liberation in KSA
A breakthrough for Saudi women came when they were allowed to drive in the Kingdom in 2018, amid a ferocious crackdown on women activists campaigning for women’s rights for decades in the backdrop.
Saudi Arabia is making overhaul changes to its stringent traditions and rules followed for years in the Kingdom.
Read more: Single Women allowed to travel in Saudi Arabia without a male guardian
In August, the Kingdom announced Saudi women will soon be able to acquire passports and travel without the permission of the male guardian, wavering a strictly imposed male guardian system, which hampered women’s liberation in a multitude of ways.
The Saudi authorities have also warded off the condition of acquiring the consent of a male guardian for obtaining an education. Now, they can also file for divorce, register marriages, and births and to receive official family documents without their guardian’s approval.
Saudi #women can now join the armed forces in #SaudiArabia, this is the first time they can be considered for more senior ranks || #Saudiarmy #SaudiVision2030 https://t.co/SRKjKJlMgu
— Arab News Pakistan (@arabnewspk) October 3, 2019
These measures are carried out to wash off international concerns of human rights violations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a prerequisite to attract western tourists to diversify the Saudi economy.
Tourists Swarmed KSA
The policy changes seem to bear results for Saudi Arabia, according to an estimate nearly 24,000 tourists visited Saudi Arabia in the ten days of issuing tourists visa.
On September 27th, Saudi Arabia had announced to issue tourist visas to foreign tourists. Earlier, the visas were granted only to pilgrims, foreign workers, and recently to spectators at a sporting event or cultural event.
Read more: Saudi Arabia turns to foreign social media influencers to improve its image
To further facilitate foreign tourists, Saudi Arabia has allowed unmarried foreign couples to rent a hotel room. Citizens from 49 countries are now eligible for online e-visas or visas on arrival, including the United States, Australia, several European nations, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, China, and Kazakhstan.