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Saudi women

Women take part in Saudi National Day military parade for first time

Published: Updated:

Women took part in the annual Saudi National Day military parade for the first time in the Kingdom’s history on Thursday.

Female soldiers of different ranks marched in the hour-long parade in commemoration of Saudi Arabia’s 91st National Day.

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Members of a female military unit participate in a celebratory march past during the Saudi National Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 23, 2021. (AFP)
Members of a female military unit participate in a celebratory march past during the Saudi National Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 23, 2021. (AFP)

The Ministry of Interior, in collaboration with the General Entertainment Authority (GEA), had organized the event in the capital Riyadh. A similar parade was also held in the city of Jeddah.

Hundreds of Saudi nationals and residents attended the event, and waved the Saudi flag and cheered as the soldiers marched on.

Members of a female military unit participate in a celebratory march past during the Saudi National Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 23, 2021. (Reuters)
Members of a female military unit participate in a celebratory march past during the Saudi National Day celebrations in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, September 23, 2021. (Reuters)

Saudi National Day is celebrated annually on September 23 to mark the renaming of the Kingdom of Nejd and Hejaz to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932 following a royal decree from King Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud.

The GEA organized dozens of activities and events that will take place to mark the occasion, starting from September 23 to 25. The Ministry of Health urged all citizens and residents to adhere to precautionary measures throughout the celebrations to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Vision 2030 and Saudi women

In February, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Defense announced that women could now apply for positions in the military through their unified admission portal.

The move comes under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 initiative, introducing reforms that advance Saudi Arabian women in various fields.

Women were allowed to join the Saudi Arabian Army, Royal Saudi Air Defense, Royal Saudi Navy, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services.

Saudi Arabian women have also been recruited as soldiers, lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, and staff sergeants, according to the ministry.

To join the armed forces, a woman must be between the age of 21 and 40 years old, be 155 centimeters tall or above, and cannot be a government employee.

She must also pass admission procedures, have a clean criminal record, and be medically fit for service.

A Saudi Arabian woman must also hold an independent national identity card, have at least a high school education, and cannot be married to a non-Saudi Arabian citizen.

Read more:

Fireworks and concerts: Saudi Arabia kicks off National Day with massive celebrations

‘Eight decades of partnership’: US congratulates Saudi Arabia on 91st National Day

Saudi King Salman wishes prosperity on nation ahead of National Day