S Arabia may begin recruiting women

S Arabia may begin recruiting women

S Arabia may begin recruiting women

Saudi women wearing veils are seen in this file photo. The Saudi army is set to establish a new department to recruit female soldiers, according to a senior official. Hürriyet photo

The National Guards in Saudi Arabia will soon begin recruiting female soldiers through a new department, Al Arabiya reported on May 27.

Head of the Saudi National Guard Prince Mitaab Bin Abdullah said he will soon create a department within the military to recruit female soldiers, according to a newspaper report.

The Saudi newspaper, Okaz, quoted Prince Abdullah on May 24 saying that a new study has been submitted to recruit female soldiers in the Saudi National Guard. The conservative kingdom, which until now has banned women from driving automobiles, is being seen as beginning to gradually include women in various sectors of the country.

In early 2012 the kingdom’s ministry of labor implemented a royal decree ordering that only women be employed as lingerie sales people.

The decree was aimed at increasing the rate of Saudization and offering Saudi women more jobs. Last year, women in the kingdom were given the right to vote and run in the next municipal elections, which are expected to take place in four years. Women were also given the right to be appointed to the kingdom’s consultative Shura Council.

Women are also to be allowed to attend football matches. Officials in the kingdom said women will be able to watch matches at the Jeddah stadium after specially constructed private cabins and balconies are completed in 2014.

Male guardian needed

In late 2010 Saudi Arabia’s passport directorate hired female civilians to check women’s identities and help with other services both full and part-time. In 2009, King Abdullah attempted to modernize judiciary, armed forces and various ministries. He also appointed the country’s first female deputy minister.

Despite reforms, women cannot travel, work, study abroad, marry, get divorced or gain admittance to a public hospital without permission from a male guardian.

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