Following the emergence of a picture posted to Twitter by Prince Sattam Bin Khalid Al Saud, a member of the House of Saud, a conversation regarding equal rights and female leadership has erupted across Saudi’s social media. Featuring a never-before-seen female member of the Saudi Royal Guard, the picture relays a powerful image of equality as the female guard can be seen performing her duties alongside her male colleague. Later reposted by Moaid Mahjoub, Director of Government Affairs, External Relations and Protocol at Princess Jawahar Al Saud’s Private Office, the picture was accompanied by a caption noting it’s rightful historical significance. “Historical moment at Saudi Royal Guard Regiment. Thanks to The Crown Prince, His Royal Highness Mohammed Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud,” Mahjoub’s caption read.
— سطام بن خالد آل سعود (@sattam_al_saud) June 25, 2020
Inciting a flurry of praise, the photo has been shared and liked a number of times across social media, with many users expressing joy and pride over the appointment of a female guard. Changes to the make-up of the regiment occurred in October 2019, when the Saudi government announced that women would be allowed and encouraged to join the military and land forces. Following suit were the specificities surrounding new appointments, with the government noting that women would be eligible for high-ranking positions such as corporals and sergeants across the wide range of forces including the Saudi Arabian Navy, Strategic Missile Forces and Armed Forces Medical Services. Applicants were shortlisted and appointed following a number of tests and interviews.
Allowing women to inch towards senior ranking positions once exclusively held for their male counterparts, the historic initiative is part of the country’s 2030 program, which among other things, pushes for the empowerment of women by giving them more leadership positions and celebrating their contributions to society in a manner that is visible. Thus far, in what is a testament to the initiative, women in Saudi Arabia have already been appointed to roles in the front lines of public security. These roles include but are not limited to; the General Directorate of Narcotics, General Directorate of Prisons and Criminal Evidence and Customs.