As of 2018, women may choose to enter the Navy Corps and the Marine Corps for the first time, which opens the way for their future participation in combat activities.
Within the Brazilian Armed Forces, the Navy (MB) was the first to grant the title of general officer to a military woman. The promotion was awarded to the medical Rear Admiral Dalva Maria Carvalho Mendes in 2012.
In December 2017, the MB took another step towards innovation by passing Law No. 13,541. Thanks to this rule, the possibility is opened for women to enter careers that allow them to ascend to the rank of Admiral, the highest in the hierarchy of the naval force in times of peace. In times of war the highest rank corresponds to that of admiral of the fleet.
This change also implies that women will have the option of entering the Navy Corps and the Marine Corps; in this way they have the opportunity to participate in combat activities. “Until now, women have participated in operational activities in the fields of health and support, that is, in logistics activities, and they were not inserted in the context of the direct confrontations of the combat forces,” explained the Admiral of the MB Celso Luiz Nazareth, general director of Personnel of the MB. “Through the new wording of the law may participate in the preparation activities and exercises intended for combat, as members of the Navy Corps in naval combat, and the Marine Corps in the fighting on the ground, after disembarking. ”
The implementation of the novelties introduced by the new law involves different sectors and regulations of the MB. As an example, the Almte. Nazareth cited physical abilities. According to the officer, combat activities require physical requirements that are more intense than the logistics to which women were limited. This will require changes in the rules governing military physical training and physical evaluation for women.
Another important requirement concerns the restructuring of the facilities of the vessels and training schools. “There is a need to make small modifications and adaptations to facilitate prolonged coexistence between male and female professionals, both because of the long trips made by the ships and that may last for months, as well as because of the need to live in a regime of interned in educational establishments, as part of naval military training, “said Almte. Nazareth
The idea is that all this happens in the short term. For example, as early as 2018 the selection process for the Naval School of the MB will include the possibility of entry of candidates to the Navy Corps and the Marine Corps.
From 2014 and until 2017 the Naval School only admitted women to study the career of mayor. The first group of female military intendants was received in 2017. The Marine Corps is in charge of supply and transport logistics, budget and financial coordination and execution, real estate management, control internal, administration and payment to those who provide services to the MB.
The MB has 8124 women soldiers, of which 3706 are officers and 4418 are non-commissioned officers. In some fields they become the majority, as in the case of health support where 77 percent are women; that of dental surgeons, where they represent 65 percent and that of doctors, in which 54 percent are women. Among the doctors is the Contralmte. Dalva, the first and only woman of the Armed Forces of Brazil who has conquered a position of general officer.
The Contralmte. Dalva joined the MB in 1981, in the first group of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps of the Navy Reserve, along with 202 other women. In 1997 the redistribution of these soldiers took place in the bodies already in existence, and that same year the medical personnel of the Marine Health Corps was integrated as an anesthetist.
“There were several moments in my career that represented milestones, but certainly the promotion to general officer has been the most emblematic. I was invaded by a feeling of intense happiness, an indescribable emotion mixed with the awareness of the increased responsibility added by this promotion “, said the Contralmte. Dalva For her, the creation of the new law and the admission of women into the training groups of officers of the Naval School constitute a “demonstration that the Navy is an institution sensitive to social changes”.
Regarding the participation of military women in combat operations, the Contralmte. Dalva does not foresee difficulties. “The military, regardless of their sex, are ready to fulfill any mission, because they have characteristics that translate into the values that are demanded of professionals, such as dedication, responsibility, self-denial and spirit of sacrifice, among others”.