Manama: For the first time, Saudi authorities have opened up army registration to women.

Applications have begun to pour in this week from women to become soldiers in the latest breakthrough for women in the kingdom, after the announcement was made last week.

Women interested in becoming soldiers have until Thursday to submit their applications as part of the process that includes personal interviews and tests.

Applicants must be Saudi nationals who grew up in Saudi Arabia, unless they were with their fathers who were abroad on official assignments, the General Directorate of Public Security said.

The applicant must hold at least a high school diploma or its equivalent, be between 25 and 35 years old, and at least 155 cm tall, with a good weight to height ratio.

The candidate must pass the acceptance test, the personal interview with experts and the medical checkup.

She must have a good conduct record and must not be a government employee or had worked in the military.

Under the conditions, the applicant must not be married with a non-Saudi, must have an independent identity card and live in the same region where the job is offered.

The general directorate said that the successful candidates would be appointed to institutions in Riyadh, Makkah, Madinah, Qaseem, Aseer, Al Baha and the Eastern Province.

In January, the General Directorate for Passports announced that, for the first time, it would be recruiting 140 women, but officials were surprised to receive 107,000 applications.

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According to Saudi news site Sabq, the authorities went through all the applications to check whether the candidates met the requirements stated in the announcement.

The general directorate said that candidates had to be between 25 and 35 years, held at least a high school diploma, and were physically fit for the position. Shortlisted candidates had also to pass the personal interview.

The elevation of the status of women in Saudi Arabia is being promoted as part of the 2030 Vision launched by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman.

Women’s causes are being supported mainly by Shura Council members and the media.

Earlier this month, Shura Council Member Iqbal Darandari called for imposing mandatory training on Saudi men and women so that all Saudis can defend their country.

“Conscription is today a national necessity and should include both men and women,” she said.

“Women must be trained to serve their country and defend themselves and their homeland in case of a crisis, war or attack in any region.”

Saudi women are naturally strong and valiant and everyone would feel more comfortable with the knowledge that well trained women can defend the nation, she added.