Kuwait allows women to join military in combat roles

Defence Minister Hamad Jaber al-Ali al-Sabah said the door had been opened for women to join various combat ranks, including as officers, the Kuwait Armed Forces tweeted.

Kuwaiti Minister of Defense Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah (R) on 12 October 2021 announced the decision to allow women to enlist in the military in combat roles. Picture: KuwaitArmy GHQ/YouTube Screengrab.

KUWAIT CITY - Kuwaiti women will be allowed to enlist in the military in combat roles for the first time after years of having been restricted to civilian roles, the army said on Tuesday.

Defence Minister Hamad Jaber al-Ali al-Sabah said the door had been opened for women to join various combat ranks, including as officers, the Kuwait Armed Forces tweeted.

"The time has come for Kuwaiti women to be given the opportunity to enter the Kuwaiti military side by side with their brothers," the minister said in remarks carried by state news agency KUNA.

He expressed confidence in women's "capabilities... and their ability to endure hardship".

Kuwaiti women earned the right to vote in 2005 and have been active both in cabinet and parliament -- though they did not gain any seats in the current parliament.

Unlike other Gulf countries, Kuwait's parliament enjoys legislative power and lawmakers have been known to challenge the government and royals.

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