These Female Guards Of The Mosque Of Prophet ﷺ In Saudi Arabia Are Rewriting History!
According to reports, dozens of female officers are deployed both in Makkah and Madinah.
Impressive strides have been made in Saudia Arabia towards women empowerment and gender equality since 2016. Over the years, many images have appeared online that capture the progression in the essence and role of women in the country.
Recently, the pictures of smartly uniformed female security officers guiding Umrah pilgrims in Makkah during Ramadan went viral on social media platforms. The fact that their daily work is now considered a matter, of course, is a huge achievement of the Kingdom’s five-year-old Vision 2030.
According to reports, dozens of female officers are deployed both in Makkah and Madinah. The job of these officers is to provide security and manage worshippers at the Grand Mosque and the Prophet’s Mosque. Dressed in mocha-colored uniforms, black berets, and with their faces partially veiled, the female officers work round the clock in four teams of nearly 18 members each.
Details about the Female officers
The all-female batch of military-trained officers stationed at the Prophet’s Mosque comprises 113 women. This batch of women has assembled eight months ago and now has become part of the homeland security branch of Saudi Arabia’s Special Security Forces.
In a statement, Major-General Abdul Rahman Al-Mashhan, director of the Madinah Police, stated:
Their job is to watch over and assist pilgrims performing Umrah.
According to sources, the young officers oversee a section of the mosque to guide and assist female worshippers and enforce the government’s Covid-19 protocols. These freshly minted officers look out for hawkers and beggars while ensuring that visitors respect measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
These women exude tremendous confidence that stems from succeeding in a demanding career that was closed to them until recently.
As part of their professional training, the officers know self-defense, first aid, and how to use firearms. They are also fluent in both Arabic and English languages (to improve their communication skills). Before starting the job, the women also had to enroll in computer education and fitness courses to train themselves in a majority of aspects.
The Story of the Officers in their own words
Hanan Al-Rashidi, 27, who has been a soldier for all of eight months, said:
I accepted the job because it is a form of humanitarian service. I am full of joy. It is an honor to work at the Prophet’s Mosque and serve the guests of Allah.
Expressing pride in flying the flag for Saudi Vision 2030, Al-Rashidi said:
I regard the current era as one that opened doors to female empowerment. I am grateful to be working in this position. Our leadership has given us so many opportunities. From driving to working in any field, women are equal to men. There is no difference.
Reem Al-Mahjoob, 27, who has been performing security duties in Madinah for the past six months, echoed Al-Rashidi’s sentiments and stated:
Vision 2030 has empowered Saudi women to take up jobs in such diverse fields as the military, aviation, and government. This is the era of women. Women can now join the military, among many other sectors they have always wanted to enter.
Al-Hanouf Al-Gomzi, 29, who comes from a family with a defense background, said:
I find my posting in the holy city hugely rewarding. The feeling is completely indescribable. I’m at the Prophet’s Mosque watching over the visitors. I’m very proud of myself and my colleagues.
Al Gomzi further shared:
To be able to work in the military is a source of immense pride for me. I was able to join my brothers in this field. I wanted to join this sector more than any other.
Concluding the statement, she said:
We now find women working in many fields. They are almost equal to men.
Vision 2030 paving the way to Female Empowerment in the Holy Cities
Reports state that the deployment of female officers in the two holy cities is one of the many remarkable changes that Saudi Arabia has witnessed since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched the Vision 2030 plan in April 2016.
The Vision 2030 program reads:
Empowerment of women — including their economic inclusion and workforce participation — is one of the key objectives.
To bring this vision to life and create opportunities for women, Saudi Arabia has not only introduced legal reforms but also funded projects and initiatives in several sectors — including tourism, investment, and culture. The country’s government is now committed to guaranteeing and protecting women’s rights in the workplace.
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has worked hard to reduce gender-based discrimination and find ways to create safe work environments that foster growth and innovation for women.
On the other hand, women have also played their part in creating legislation and opening businesses. Following the rulings of the government sector, females have taken a leading role in private-sector investment.
Now Females are on the Front Line in Saudi Arabia
The pace of progress towards gender equality in the defense sector has been particularly impressive. Saudi Arabia now has its first female professional racing driver, female ambassadors, female judges, and award-winning female filmmakers.
Saudi Arabia decided to allow women to join the military three years ago. The first military wing for women in Saudi Arabia’s armed forces was launched in 2020. The Ministry of Defense announced that men and women in the Kingdom could apply for positions in the military through a unified admission portal in February this year.
Many other positions are now open for women with a long line of prospective employers, including lance corporal, corporal, sergeant, and staff sergeant. Females can now apply to the Royal Saudi Land Forces, Royal Saudi Air Force, Royal Saudi Naval Forces, Royal Saudi Air Defense Forces, Royal Saudi Strategic Missile Force, and Armed Forces Medical Services for employment opportunities.
Anything Saudi Men can do, Saudi Women can do too
Female police officers joined the ranks of Makkah’s security force for the first time during last summer’s Hajj season, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Like them, the all-female contingent stationed at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah proves that anything Saudi men can do, Saudi women can do too and that no matter how masculine a job may seem to traditionalists, it can always benefit from a woman’s touch.
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