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For the first time in 25 years, women are allowed to serve in the Colombian military.

For the first time in 25 years, women are allowed to serve in the Colombian military.

This year, Colombia opened the doors to its compulsory military duty for women, ending a 25-year ban. In February of 2023, 1,296 women joined Colombia’s armed forces.

In light of International Women’s Day, where the purpose is to uphold women’s achievements, the world once again celebrates women’s wins as Colombia finally opens military service for women for the first time in 25 years.

This news comes as one of Colombia’s first female recruits in more than 20 years, Zulma Stefania Perez, reflected while wearing camouflage on her first weeks of army training at a military base in the city.

She claimed that “we must go through the same physical training exercises” as male recruits. “Being female doesn’t make us less competent. On the contrary, we possess various abilities and advantages that males might not have.”

Colombia’s Military Recruiting Situation

Perez, 24, is one of 1,296 women who joined Colombia’s army in February, the first time in 25 years that women were allowed to serve in the armed forces of the South American nation.

Men between 18 and 24 are required to serve in the military in Colombia. While its professional troops fight against drug trafficking gangs and rebel groups, the army heavily depends on those young recruits to staff bases, guard infrastructure, and handle administrative duties.

To fulfill the goal of “strengthening the role of women” within its ranks, officials this year permitted females in the same age range to enter the military voluntarily.

The Response of Colombian Women To The New Development

Some women in the new program are holding out hope that it will help them start a job in the military, even though recruits must live on military bases for several months and receive only a small monthly stipend of about $75. For them, it represents an opportunity for a secure job and educational possibilities.

“I like the lessons we learn in the military about human rights and international humanitarian law since that’s my field of expertise,” said Perez, who holds a law degree but has found it tough to find employment in the legal field.

She claimed that after completing basic training, she would probably land a position in the military’s legal affairs division.

She must first go through three months of fundamental training, starting every day at six in the morning with only a minute to take a cold shower. She has also mastered running while toting a 3-kilogram (6 1/2-pound) gun.

She said getting used to this activity had been the most challenging aspect. “You lead a sedentary lifestyle as a civilian,” Perez claimed.

Others claimed they joined the service because law enforcement is a family profession.

Yariany Alvarez, a 20-year-old recruit in Bogotá who has an officer as an uncle, said she has always wanted to don this uniform with dignity, discipline, and honor.

She stated that despite the army’s ongoing battle to liberate some rural areas of the nation from the control of drug gangs and rebel organizations, she was not scared to serve as a soldier in Colombia.

She declared, “This is a hazardous profession. But I believe we can stand out if we master our drills and adhere to the rules.”

The Impact Of The Decision

There are about 200,000 soldiers in Colombia’s force. Until now, 1% of the membership comprised women who attended military colleges or applied for administrative positions.

The South American country enlists about 50,000 males yearly for a 12-month mandatory military service.

Human rights advocates and some politicians oppose the practice because they claim that most soldiers are men from low-income urban or rural neighborhoods. At the same time, more affluent Colombians with private school degrees find methods to avoid serving their country.

The new drive to permit female enlistment coincides with a bill in Colombia’s congress that would abolish mandatory military service and allow young men to substitute internships in educational programs, environmental projects, or human rights initiatives.

Because they believed it would weaken the army’s capabilities, Colombian military officers opposed this law.

As reported by Virti Shah.

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