First batch of female soldiers in Saudi Arabia graduate

Riyadh: The first female recruits in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia graduated from the armed forces women’s cadre training center on Wednesday. The graduation ceremony marked the first time in the kingdom’s history that women begin serving in front-line positions.

The Saudi ministry of defense on Thursday took to Twitter and released a video clip of the graduation ceremony of the female soldiers after they completed a 14-week military training that began on May 30.

According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), the graduation ceremony was attended by the Saudi chief of staff Fayyad bin Hamed Al-Ruwaili, along with other senior commanders.

“The center for female military training has an important role to play as it focuses on providing excellent training programs and curricula as well as an ideal learning environment,” Adel Al-Balawi, the head of the Armed Forces Education and Training Authority, said during the ceremony.

In February 2021, Saudi Arabia opened up military posts for women for the first time which allowed them to report through a unified portal.

Saudi women can now rise from soldiers to officers in the Royal Saudi air defense, royal Saudi navy, royal Saudi strategic missile force, and the army’s medical services. Saudi women between the ages of 21 and 40 may apply for these positions.

A Saudi woman must also have an independent national identity card alongside a high school education and cannot be married to a non-Saudi to be considered eligible for applying. The change which has allowed women to join the Saudi military has become a part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which seeks to reform almost every aspect of life and government. One aspect is women’s empowerment and gender equality in all areas.

The country in recent years adopted several reforms to empower women, including ensuring that women can drive cars, enter playgroups and stadiums, and pursue occupations that were previously accessible only to men.