In an unprecedented move, Saudi Arabia underwent a big change in terms of gender parity. Women in dozens in the country stood guarding one of Islam’s holiest sites, Mecca. They were stationed there to help and coordinate the movement of Hajj pilgrims for the first time, according to a Reuters report.
Talking to the news agency, one woman soldier said she had joined the forces in order to honour her late father. Her dad also served in the military.
"I am following the steps of my late father to complete his journey, standing here at the Grand mosque in Mecca, the holiest place. To serve the worshippers is a very noble and honourable task,” she told Reuters.
Airing her reason for joining the forces, Samar, another soldier, said she was encouraged by her family to join the forces. She described this move as “a huge accomplishment for us”.
"This is a huge accomplishment for us and it is the biggest pride to be in the service of religion, the country and the guests of God, the most merciful," she remarked.
Dressed in military khaki uniforms the women guards were seen guiding and monitoring the security in Mecca. Along with khaki, these guards were sporting a hip-length jacket, loose trousers, and a black beret over a veil covering their hair.
In recent times, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has created the Vision 2030 reform to help modernize the Saudi Kingdom. To give effect to this vision, new reforms have been introduced in the Kingdom, like allowing Muslim women to drive, travel without permission from guardians and also have more say in decision-making in family issues.
Serving the military services, the Muslim women soldiers have protecting the holy sites of Mecca and Medina.
The Hajj has been restricted for the second straight year by the Saudi Government in wake of the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.