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[70th anniversary of the creation of Women's Army Corps] Imposing female soldiers continue their march

From 491 to 13,449, female soldiers deployed to main forces, breaking through the "Men Only" wall

[70th anniversary of the creation of Women

Female military officials to be increased from 7.3% to 8.8% by 2022
Abolished limitation on assignment and deployment while guaranteeing conditions for childbirth and infant care
Expanded facilities for women, such as shower room and improved service conditions

It has been 70 years since the women's army corps were established on September 6.

Starting with 491 female volunteer soldiers in 1950, the women's army corps has not only been increased quantitatively, but also has seen striking development qualitatively. They have been breaking through the 'Men Only' wall and widening their areas of activity, going from a simple and supplementary role to being deployed to main forces.

Today, we can see many female soliders deployed to most branches of the service.

According to the Ministry of National Defense, there were 13,449 female soldiers as of June 30, representing 9.0% of officers, 6.4% of noncoms, and 7.3% of all military officials, and it's planned to increase this share to 7.4% around the end of this year.

MND has been increasing the proportion of female soldiers through escalation of their first appointment such as second lieutenant and staff sergeant based on 'Women's forces enlargement project 2018 – 2022' that aims to expand female soldiers to more than 8.8% of all military officials by 2022.

A revision to the instructions of defense personnel administration in July 2018 says that regulations that limit female soldiers' assignment and deployment are to be eliminated, and the same career management standards applied regardless of gender. It also makes the assignment regulations the same as those for male soldiers, and prohibits disadvantages in promotion related to pregnancy, childbirth and infant care.

Standards for expanding the assignments for female soldiers were established for policy department and combat units in May of last year. Policy departments of the MND, joint chiefs of staff, assistant chiefs of staff, and each military headquarters clarified that the standard was to have more than 5.9% female soldiers as of the end of 2019 among field-grade officers, and that the current state of assignment of commanders and staff officers to each combat unit was to be reported to the MND every year.

The MND is expanding the numer of excellent female soldiers to work toward achieving gender-balanced personnel. As a result, female sel ectees to be promoted to a lieutenant colonel and colonel have been increased 300% from 22 in 2016 to 68 in 2019.

Last year, the air service had its very first female major general, while the military intelligence corps had its first female brigadier general.

In addition, the MND has established a system to improve pregnancy, childbirth and infant care within the military to help support a better work-life balance for both male and female soldiers, and build a better organizational culture. Work is also being done to support a safe working environment through sexual violence prevention activity, and to strengthen the expertise of those dealing with sexual violence cases while enhancing the victim protection and support system.

With female soldiers increasing due to the elimination of previous limitations on the units and positions in which they could serve, the acquisition of newly appointed female soldiers and the expansion of long-term service, each military is expanding and improving facilities for women, including restrooms and shower rooms.

121 essential facilities have been installed at units with female soldiers assigned but no facilities, while 210 independent rooms were established for picket heads at front line units such as GOPs last year.

The Army and Marines plans to install 1338 essential facilities for women at all units where platoon-level and higher female personnel can work, and the Navy and Air Force at squadron-level and higher.

The MND plans to focus on improve deteriorated accommodations of military officials, and enhance working conditions of the increasing number of appointed female officials by enlarging the necessary accommodations.

By Ah-Mi, Cho <>

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