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Push for equality in Latin American militaries

SUMMARY: Female pioneer, Air force major Maria Eugenia Etcheverry, recounts her experiences breaking down and challenging gendered assumptions about women in the Uruguayan military. Etcheverry joined the Air Force in 1997, with only one other female peer, and were “inadvertent guinea pigs – the first women in an institution that was not fully prepared to handle the new presence of females.” She is also the first female to become the commander of an air force squadron. Despite her trail-blazing achievements, Etcheverry has also been subject of humiliating acts, saying “at times, there was discrimination, not with words, but mostly through people’s actions. In the region, Argentina, Chile, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela are the leaders of gender equality in the military, with women accounting for 16 to 18% of all military personnel. Furthermore, women are also represented at various levels of leadership in Argentina, Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Uruguay. Resdal associate researcher Samanta Kussrow says, “the issue is still not settled, but things have changed a lot… the idea is not just to fill quotas but to see (what’s happening) within army ranks.’

SOURCE: NDTV, July 23 2015, ‘Women push for Equality in Latin America Military ranks,’ http://www.ndtv.com/world-news/women-push-for-equality-in-latin-america-military-ranks-784269

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