06:59 GMT19 June 2021
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    A sweeping social reform program championed by Saudi Arabia’s crown prince has now reached the kingdom’s armed forces as Saudi women are eligible for military service.

    The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now allowing women to enlist in the military in the rank of soldier, according to a statement issued by the country’s General Security division cited by Al Arabiya.

    The prospective recruits must fulfill twelve conditions in order to be eligible for service, including being born and raised Saudi nationals, at least 25 years of age and no older than 35, possessing at least a high school education and passing a medical examination.

    Women who are married to non-Saudis, have a criminal record or were previously employed by the government are considered non-eligible.

    A woman checks a weapon exhibited at an event to celebrate the selection of Abha as the capital of Arab tourism for the year 2017, in Abha, Saudi Arabia April 20, 2017
    © REUTERS
    A woman checks a weapon exhibited at an event to celebrate the selection of Abha as the capital of Arab tourism for the year 2017, in Abha, Saudi Arabia April 20, 2017

    This new initiative is but the latest addition to the ongoing Vision 2030 reform program led by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in a bid to socially reform the conservative kingdom.

    Starting this year, Saudi women will be allowed to drive automobiles and will no longer be barred from entering movie theaters.

    Earlier in February the Saudi public prosecutor's office also announced that it is now hiring Saudi women as investigative officers.

    And Sheikh Abdullah al-Mutlaq, a member of Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Scholars, declared earlier that while women should dress modestly, they should not be compelled to wear the abaya – a robe-like dress that some women in parts of the Muslim world are forced to wear to cover their bodies in public.

    In January, the Saudi authorities also allowed women to enter stadiums to watch men’s football matches for the first time.

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    military, rights, women, Saudi Arabian Army, Saudi Arabia
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