Women are now officially allowed to sign up for military service in Kuwait, joining other Gulf Arab states which have enabled female citizens to be part of their armed forces in recent years.
The decision was announced today by Kuwaiti Defence Minister, Sheikh Hamad Jaber Al-Ali Al-Sabah, on the sidelines of the ‘Be among them’ campaign, which aims to attract Kuwaitis to volunteer for military service.
Speaking to the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA), Sheikh Hamad stated that “Kuwaiti women have proven that they are the sister of men in all fields and the most difficult conditions and periods that the country has passed through. So it is time to give Kuwaiti female citizens the opportunity to enter the military corps in the Kuwaiti army, side by side with the men.”
Kuwait’s decision comes four years after it reinstituted mandatory military service in the country, following a 16-year break from the practice. The defence minister said that it “comes out of the role and responsibility of the Kuwaiti army in protecting the country and maintaining its security and stability from any external danger.”
He added that it will also provide “support and assistance to government agencies, to confront any internal developments and in order to enable Kuwaiti women to join the honour of military service.”
Women in Kuwait’s armed forces will specifically be allowed to serve as specialty officers, non-commissioned officers, and soldiers, as long as those roles are limited to the fields of medical services and military support services.
The Kuwaiti government acknowledged last month that it was considering such a move, but its confirmation now places it amongst the ranks of its neighbours such as Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia, which allowed women to serve in 2018.