Saudi Arabia steps up female recruitment in the armed forces

In January, the Kingdom launched a special recruitment service for women applicants

Women carry shopping bags and food they picked up from a restaurant in a mall in the Saudi capital Riyadh on June 4, 2020, after it reopened following the easing of some restrictions put in place by the authorities in a bid to stem the spead of the novel coronavirus. (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE / AFP)
Powered by automated translation

Saudi women and men can now join the once-male-dominated military using the same job application website, in an initiative to provide equal access and opportunities.

Saudi women can now climb the ranks from soldier to officer positions and conditions for all applicants regardless of gender will be the same – from admission procedures to medical check-ups, and meeting clean record conditions.

The Saudi military chief of staff, Gen Fayyad Al Ruwaili and Director-General of the General Administration of Admission and Recruitment Maj Gen Imad Al Aidan, launched the first military section for women in the Saudi Arabian Armed Forces in January.

Female applicants must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, while first-time male applicants must be between the age of 17 and 40.

Last year, a photo of a woman serving as a Saudi Royal Guard posted on social media served as a proud moment for men and women in the Kingdom.

Apart from ground forces, Saudi women are also able to join the Royal Saudi Air Defence force, the Royal Saudi Navy, Strategic Missile Forces and Armed Forces Medical Services. Women can also rise through the ranks to a number of officer positions.

Policing roles 

In 2018, the kingdom opened up opportunities for women to apply for a number of non-military security roles.

Applicants were given the choice to join security services in the interior ministry,  the department of criminal investigations, security patrols and pilgrimage security.

Saudi women have also been a part of public security since 2019, in the General Directorate of Prisons, Criminal Evidence and Customs and the General Directorate of Narcotics.

The job prospects for these women are looking up if the trends continue: the Governor of the General Authority for Military Industries (GAMI) revealed on Saturday that Saudi Arabia plans to invest more than $10 billion in the military industry over the next decade, and nearly the same amount on military research and development.