Carmen Melendez, first Admiral of Venezuela, said on Sunday that the full inclusion of Venezuelan women in the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB) has been achieved during Hugo Chavez’s presidential rule.
She made the comments during the Jose Vicente Hoy program, hosted by journalist Jose Vicente Rangel and transmitted by the private channel Televen.
Melendez recalled that during the Fourth Republic period, the FANB was clearly an environment only open to men, “We weren’t accepted in the operational units”.
Starting in 2000, women were allowed to join all components of the FANB, “without any kind of discrimination. We have officers on ships, chief pilots, submarine crew, and tank crew. Life changed for us”.
Melendez also pointed out that 26% of new graduates were women, and that the number of women currently enrolled in various [military] academies is “incredible”.
“Within ten years, we’ll have a women’s participation rate of 50% or more in the FANB,” she said.
Melendez also pointed out that “we have an National Armed Forces, that is better equipped, trained and ready to combat any aggression”.
Translation by Owen Richards.