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Colombia opens military service to women for first time in 25 years

Colombia has opened military service to women for the first time in 25 years. A cohort of 1,296 women have been enlisted in Colombia’s Army in the month of February.

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More About the recent recruits by the Colombian Army:

Recruits must live on military bases for several months and earn a monthly stipend of only about $75, but some of the women in the new program hope it helps them build a career in the armed forces. They see it as a chance for a stable job and educational opportunities.

Colombia has long had compulsory military service for men ages 18 to 24. The army relies heavily on those young recruits to staff bases, protect infrastructure and carry out administrative tasks, while its professional soldiers confront drug trafficking gangs and rebel groups. This year, officials allowed females in the same age range to voluntarily join the military, in what the army says is part of an effort to strengthen the role of women in its ranks.

Composition of the Colombian army:

  • Colombia’s army has around 200,000 soldiers. Around 1% are women, who until now joined after attending military universities or applying for administrative jobs.
  • Every year, the South American country drafts around 50,000 men into the armed forces for 12 months of compulsory military service.

Colombia’s New Push Enlist Females in its Army:

The new push to allow females to enlist comes as Colombia’s congress debates a bill that would eliminate compulsory military service and enable young men to replace it with internships in educational programs, environmental projects or human rights initiatives.

Military officers in Colombia have opposed this legislation, saying it would diminish the army’s capabilities.

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