Army will increase number of women in the military line – 05/26/2023 – Politics
To recover from a historical delay and in search of modernization, the Army is taking measures to provide a female presence in the war lines, associated with combat. As cadets, women have challenged gender stereotypes and excelled in military activities.
According to the Army, they are only 6% of the effective corps. The percentage includes members of helplines such as health and engineering, where women have been a larger part since the 1990s.
The first students entered the EsPCEx (Preparatory School for Army Cadets) in 2017, where they stayed for a year before going to Aman (Military Academy of Agulhas Negras), when they became cadets. Until today, only 10% of the vacancies in the competition for the school are destined for them.
In the initial classes, women could attend only two specializations: Intendancy Services, which takes care of supplies and materials, and War Material Board, responsible for maintaining resources such as weapons and vehicles.
As of 2024, female students entering ESPCEx will be able to join Arma de Comunicações, the first to receive female cadets.
Officers of this weapon assist the Infantry and Cavalry, working for high-ranking members to communicate with subordinates and to interfere with the adversary’s communication during missions.
The entry of women was the result of the Project for the Insertion of the Female Sex in the Line of Military Military Education (Pisflemb), instituted to increase their presence in the Army. Pisflemb began to be conceived in 2012 with the approval of law nº 12,705, which determined that the entry of women into the military line should be done within five years.
Lieutenant Fabiana Amador, 25, was one of the students in the inaugural class. Coming from a military family, she has been preparing for the Armed Forces since the end of high school. Today, Fabiana works in the maintenance of war material for the Army’s 16th Logistic Battalion, in Brasília.
The space for differences does not exist, because there you are not a man or a woman, but a military man.
The support of other cadets helped adapt to the routine, which can be even more intense at first. As they share the same accommodation, the closer relationship with the women was natural, according to Fabiana.
“The body spirit formed among the girls in my class was due to the proximity of being living the same moment and the same situations.”
Even though women are a minority at Aman, the lieutenant considers that officers treat everyone equally, regardless of gender. “The space for differences does not exist, because there you are not a man or a woman, but a military man.”
The next year also marks the debut of instructors in the war line, who graduated from the first class. The appointment of the lieutenants who will return to Aman to support the new cadets has not yet been determined, but Fabiana claims that it would be an honor to occupy this position.
Commander of the Communications Weapons course, Major Marcel dos Santos says he believes that interacting with them was natural and without distinction, which surprised the team. He says the cadets excelled in all kinds of activities, from the physical to the intellectual.
“The academy had specific training for men since it was created. With the arrival of the female segment, there was an expectation that perhaps their adaptation would be more difficult and that there could be a greater evasion, but that was not what happened”, he says. .
After four years of experience with the cadets, the Insertion Program became a Follow-up Program, to evaluate the inclusion of women based on the results of the first years. Today, the project verifies outstanding practices and improvements to be made in the integration of cadets.
Expansion still in its infancy in the Army
Despite advances, the expansion of the female presence in the Army is still in its infancy, and Brazil lags behind in inclusion in the military force, compared to other countries.
Data from the Ministry of Defense of Argentina indicate that around 14% of the effective body is made up of women. The number rises in the United States, where they represent approximately 18% of Army officers, according to a 2021 report by the American Department of Defense.
According to Major Marcel, the inclusion process is slow because it requires changes in the structure of Aman, such as the creation of accommodation and women’s bathrooms.
In arms like the Infantry, which has a larger number of cadets, there would have to be more effort to adapt spaces to the needs of women. “It is not possible to make all the adaptations at the same time, mainly due to the pace of administration. It has to be done in stages”, she says.
For Maria Cecília Adão, a researcher at the Defense and International Security Study Group at Unesp (São Paulo State University), the Army is traditionally conservative, which for years held back female occupation in officer positions. Thus, the delay in expanding their presence is also caused by internal resistance.
On the other hand, the researcher says that the inclusion of women is the result of a need to modernize the Armed Forces. But pioneering can put pressure on cadets.
“The ones that go in first are seen as an experiment, so they have to do everything they can to prove they can be there.”
Maria Elisa Corsino, 23, is in her fourth year at Aman’s Ordnance Board. She claims that, as she was in the third class with women, she entered the Army already prepared to receive them.
In addition to more educated officers, Corsino considers that contact with students from previous classes benefited the new cadets.
“With them, we had the notion that anything was possible. All the difficulties we would go through, the former students had already gone through first, which was very positive for us. We always look at them with great admiration”, he declares.
According to Major Marcel, the Army plans to expand the inclusion of women to all weapons, cadres and services in the line of warlike military education. For this, studies and plans are being made with the objective of receiving the new cadets.
“We in the Army are the extract of society. We have skills and resources to make better use of human material and fulfill the missions.”