Venezuela’s Armed Forces (FANB) have taken their first step towards greater women inclusion on May, 10, when Lt. Draiza Medina graduated and became the first female submariner of her country and in the entire Latin American continent.
The ceremony took place in Contralmirante Agustín Armario naval base in Puerto Cabello, located in Carabobo State, where the 24 year old graduated together with 13 other officials who also became submarine crew members. Medina shared her fervent desire and aim to become Captain of the Submarine Squadron and thanked her co-submariners for treating her like any other member of the group. According to her, the merit of becoming the first female submariner in the continent is not hers only because it is shared with every man she has been on board with, who granted her no privileges for being a woman.
Draiza Medina also seized the opportunity to invite all women to join the Armed Forces. She encouraged military women to keep on being “change makers” within the army career.
On his part, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro congratulated the Armed Forces via Twitter and highlighted the egalitarian spirit behind the event.
Women in the Armed Forces
Nowadays, it is estimated that only one every 50 million submariners is a woman. In Latin America, the numbers are even more shocking: there is only one woman every 86 million submariners.
Even after years of inclusion and equality between men and women, many societies and individuals still consider some professions as typically suited for men. This is generally the case of those professions which require the use of physical strength or for which a particularly tough entrance examination needs to be taken. The Armed Forces is one of the best examples, given that the greatest majority of its members are male. The difference between men and women is even greater if the highest ranks of the Army are considered.
However, France and Spain are examples that a more inclusive system which allows for and promotes women’s access, while guaranteeing their position as military members in their own right, is in fact possible. In the last couple of years, France has experienced a feminization rate of 15 per cent and Spain a rate of 12.3 per cent. Today, Venezuela is also taking a step further into the process of inclusion.