Mon, Oct 02, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Submarines to accommodate women

GENDER EQUALITY:Technical limitations of the equipment used has impeded the integration of women in combat roles, the Ministry of National Defense said

By Lo Tien-pin and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The navy intends to design a series of locally made submarines and refit Cheng Kung-class frigates with facilities to accommodate female sailors, the Ministry of National Defense said in a report yesterday.

The report was compiled in response to a resolution issued by the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee after reviewing the ministry’s budget proposal for this year.

The resolution said the military has not integrated enough women into combat roles and asked the ministry to prepare a report to review the issue and propose a solution.

The ministry is to submit the report to the committee soon, ministry sources said.

Although the military does not discriminate against women, safety considerations and technical limitations of the equipment used might impede the integration of women in combat roles, the report said.

The nation’s submarines lack separate living quarters and facilities for women, and could not accommodate female sailors who are otherwise qualified to serve, it added.

The navy’s existing submarines cannot be retrofitted, but the nation’s proposed domestic submarine program will incorporate living quarters and facilities for women, it said.

The additions to the design requirements are pursuant to the recommendations made by the military’s commission on gender equality after its inspection of the 256th Submarine Squadron in May last year, the report said.

The navy has continued its efforts to integrate women on its warships, the report said, adding that the refitting of Cheng Kung-class frigates would allow it to add more than 200 female enlisted sailors and officers to the service by the end of next year.

The army last year opened the armor branch as a military occupational specialty choice for female non-commissioned officers who have completed training, the report said.

The navy has also adopted similar measures for positions on its surface combat ships, it added.

The Army Command and the Navy Command are to improve the utilization rate of female troops in armored fighting vehicles and warships, and the commands are drafting recommendations to that end, and will present them to the gender equality commission, the report said.

Any soldier who possesses the qualifications and meets the standards required for the military’s occupational specialty and designated military missions is allowed to serve without regard to gender, the report said.

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