Kuwait Considers Opening Door to Female Soldiers


In a move to boost military recruitment, the Kuwait Armed Forces is studying the benefits of allowing women to serve in the military.

Maj. Gen. Khaled Al-Kandari, deputy chief of staff for manpower, announced that the study on female recruitment is scheduled for the end of 2021.

The debate on whether to enlist women in the Armed Forces was revived in September 2021 during a recruitment campaign, launched by the Kuwaiti Ministry of Defense, called “Be Among Them.”  

Kuwait considered a similar move in 2018, when Sheikh Nasser Al Sabah, then Kuwait’s minister of defense, advocated admitting women to military service. “There is no objection to women joining the national military service if they so desire,” Sheikh Nasser said at the time.

Women already serve in other Kuwaiti security services, but the Army remains a holdout. Women began training to be police officers in 2008 with an inaugural class of 40. In March 2016, the first five Kuwaiti policewomen joined security forces as guards at Kuwait’s National Assembly.

Arabian Gulf states’ effort to empower women has been making progress slowly yet steadily as women have begun assuming posts that were once the preserve of men in the military and security apparatuses. 

More than 30 years ago, the Bahrain Defense Force allowed women to serve in several military branches, and some have achieved high ranks. In 2009, two Bahraini servicewomen made history by graduating from the Command and General Staff Program as staff officers at the Royal Command, Staff and National Defense College in Bahrain.

The United Arab Emirates hosts the Gulf region’s first military college for women, Khawla Bint Al Azwar Military School, open since 1991. Women in Qatar were allowed to volunteer for national service for the first time in 2018.  Sources: Al Jazeera, Al Hurra

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