Saudi Arabia rules women are permitted to join the army

epa05069720 (FILE) A file photo dated 01 November 2011 shows a Saudi soldier standing atop of armored vehicle during a military parade ahead of the Muslim's Hajj Pilgrimage, near Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Media reports on 15 December 2015 said Saudi Arabia has formed a 34-member alliance "to fight terrorism" which largely comprises Muslim-majority states but excludes regional rival Iran and several countries facing ongoing violence. The coalition includes Arab, African and Asian nations, with a joint operations center to be based in Riyadh. EPA/AMEL PAIN

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Saudi Arabia announced it will allow women in the ultra-conservative kingdom to serve in the armed forces as it embarks on a broad programme of economic and social reforms.

The move is the latest in a series of measures aimed at increasing the rights of women in the kingdom, even as rights groups accuse Riyadh of cracking down on women activists.

Last year, Saudi Arabia authorised women to join its security forces.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, has approved a handful of reforms aimed at widening women’s rights, including allowing them to drive and to travel abroad without consent from a male “guardian”.

Via Al Jazeera

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