Captain Lee Hsiao-hsing (李曉馨), the third female to command a Taiwanese navy ship, said earlier this week that the most effective way for a woman to survive in the male-dominated military is to learn how to communicate.
Lee, who was named commander of the Po Chiang patrol ship, is the vessel’s second female captain following Lin Mei-ching (林美菁), who took the post in 2010.
Pursuing a career in the military has always been Lee’s dream, the 33-year-old said, adding that she has always wanted to lead a different life than most other women.
Lee said that although she played sports at school, it took her a while to get to grips with the intensive physical training before she was able to compete with her male naval counterparts.
In the military, everyone has to follow orders without hesitation, but now society has become more open and people are allowed to have their own opinions, she said.
The only way to reach a consensus is through communication, she said, adding that seeking advise from senior staff is the key to earning respect in the military.
“Treating every soldier as a member of your own family can also build the strength of the team,” she said.
Commenting on the increasing number of female soldiers in the Taiwanese military, Lee said that “as long as a woman is devoted to her career, there will be no regret later in life.”
Hsieh Ai-chieh (謝艾潔), who in 2007 became the first female in Taiwan to be named captain of a naval vessel, applied for a land-based position last month in order to be closer to her family.
The Ministry of National Defense has reached its target of recruiting 799 women this year, with more than 890 women applying for posts as of last month.
Only 53.7 percent of the 14,512 target for men has been reached, with only 7,793 men volunteering, the ministry added.