Women comprise 13.6 percent of the volunteer military, with 19,000 members, a number that is expected to rise to more than 20,000 next year, a Ministry of National Defense report said.
A report on the recruitment and promotion of women in the military mandated by the Legislative Yuan’s Foreign and National Defense Committee has been completed, an unnamed ministry official said.
The number of women serving has steadily increased to 19,000 this year from 6,900 in 2006, when the armed forces began integrating women on a large scale, the official cited the report as saying.
Regarding officers, there are 3,000 women who comprise 11.2 percent of all volunteer officers, it said.
The two highest-ranking women in the military are major generals, with one serving in the ministry and the other in the National Security Bureau, the report said.
There are more than 9,000 female non-commissioned officers, comprising 14.5 percent, while 6,000 enlisted female soldiers comprise 14.2 percent of all volunteer enlisted troops, it said.
Although comparatively few women choose to serve in the combat arms, gender integration in those branches has accelerated, the official said.
Last year, women comprised 15 percent of all soldiers with a combat military occupational specialty, up from 9.7 percent in 2014, the official said.
Combat divisions open to women include the infantry, artillery, military police, marines, aviation, missile specialists and most positions in the navy, the official said.
The military is implementing a pilot program for recruiting and training female soldiers for the armor branch, including the tank and self-propelled artillery crew, they added.
The occupational positions under evaluation are commander, gunner and driver for tanks and self-propelled guns with a non-commissioned officer ranking, the official said.
The Army Command is to evaluate the performance of female armored troops before making further decisions, the official said.
The Republic of China military began recruiting women in 1932 to meet a need for intelligence officers, while the recruitment of female military nurses and political warfare officers followed in 1947 and 1951 respectively, the official said.
Careers in other technical fields were opened to women in 1991, while the army, navy and air force academies began enrolling women in 1994, the official said.
By 2006, women could volunteer for most enlisted and non-commissioned ranks, and the quota is increased annually, the official said, adding the program was modeled after the gender integration efforts of Western militaries.
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