Sun, Sep 10, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Military trumpets female enrollment, equality measures

By Aaron Tu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The military has begun to implement gender equality measures, as it enforces its policy of separating living quarters in a bid to prevent sexual harassment.

The armed forces have attracted more female members as the all-volunteer service approaches its projected goal of 90 percent.

As of last month, there were more than 20,000 women serving across all sectors, an officer said, adding that it is possible for the number to reach the goal of 15 percent of total members.

Recruitment among women was surprisingly successful, an official said, adding that if the goal were to recruit 100 people, only 50 men would sign up, while 200 women would enroll.

According to Ministry of National Defense statistics, there were more than 14,000 women in the military as of 2012, or 11.5 percent of the all-volunteer force, and the number has continued to grow annually.

The ministry estimates that women account for more than 13 percent of the armed forces.

The military fully supports gender equality and all courses and training are implemented without bias, officers said, adding that in some cases, women performed better than their male counterparts.

Aside from the special periods of pregnancy and menstruation, all recruits are treated equally, officers said.

There are plans to implement separate quartering, as well as regulations to minimize sexual harassment, the military said.

As of June, 19 cases of sexual harassment were reported in the armed services this year, 12 of which were substantiated. Eighteen of the cases involved men harassing women, of which 11 were substantiated, it said.

Men are prohibited from entering female quarters without cause, and certain units are to install additional surveillance cameras to screen people entering and leaving the area, the military said.

Female soldiers are to divide their chores and have an internal assessment system, and any official business that requires a meeting between people of opposite genders after 10pm must be conducted in hallways or with another person in attendance, it said.

The military said it has no plans to put female sailors on duty in submarines.

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